Looking north at the neighborhood of Paradise Island on Treasure Island, Fla., outer bands of Tropical Storm Elsa brings a downpour of rain over the area on Tuesday, July 6, 2021. The Montreal Canadiens quite literally flew into a storm to continue their Stanley Cup final series with the Tampa Bay Lightning. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Tampa Bay Times, Marc Topkin

Looking north at the neighborhood of Paradise Island on Treasure Island, Fla., outer bands of Tropical Storm Elsa brings a downpour of rain over the area on Tuesday, July 6, 2021. The Montreal Canadiens quite literally flew into a storm to continue their Stanley Cup final series with the Tampa Bay Lightning. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Tampa Bay Times, Marc Topkin

Canadiens head into stormy Florida for Game 5 of Stanley Cup final with Lightning

Conditions set to improve in time for tonight’s Game 5

TAMPA, Fla. — The Montreal Canadiens quite literally flew into a storm to continue their Stanley Cup final series with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Canadiens arrived in Tampa yesterday just as tropical storm Elsa was gaining strength along Florida’s west coast. The National Weather Service in the U.S. said last night that Elsa was packing winds as high as 121 kilometres per hour and was changed to a Category 1 storm.

Conditions are set to improve in time for tonight’s Game 5, with the Lightning up 3-1 in the best-of-seven series and looking to cash in on a chance to claim the Cup on home ice.

The defending champion Lightning were far away from friends and family when they hoisted the Cup last year, celebrating the championship in a bubble environment in Edmonton due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadiens know they still have a mountain to climb to win their 25th Cup title, even if they have some momentum after extending the series with a dramatic 3-2 overtime win at home in Game 4.

However, the Habs have been at their best with their backs against the wall in these playoffs and have already stared down elimination four times.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 6, 2021.

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