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The Lightning are heading to the Edmonton bubble. They just don't know when.

By Diana C. Nearhos, Tampa Bay Times on

Published in Hockey

The Lightning have been in the Toronto bubble for more than five weeks - 38 days to be exact - and it's time for them to leave.

No, they have not been eliminated. The NHL planned to have two bubbles from the start of the postseason through the conference semifinals, then consolidate in Edmonton. The Lightning have secured their spot in the Eastern Conference final, so it's time to move.

Except, they don't have a spot for them at the J.W. Marriott in Edmonton yet.

The league was using three hotels in Edmonton and two in Toronto. In the conference semifinals, the NHL put the four teams remaining in each city in one hotel. With both Western Conference semifinals still underway on Tuesday, everyone was still at the J.W. Marriott and the Lightning were in a holding pattern.

"I think there's a lot to be determined based on how the series go (Tuesday) and if the ones out West last," coach Jon Cooper said. "Just like the times, a lot of uncertainty."

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Could they stay in Toronto?

Yes and no.

The NHL has an agreement with Hotel X and the hotel's website shows it becomes available for public bookings again on Sept. 8, the day the conference finals were estimated to begin. But the league may be able to stay there until that date.

After that, the Lightning and whoever they play in the next round (the Islanders or Flyers) will have to relocate to Edmonton.

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