The Lightning had an incredible playoff run last year: they first came back from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Penguins, and then swept the division-rival Capitals before finally losing a thrilling seven-game series to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. Many expected that superstar Steven Stamkos would continue to improve this year, and that Tampa was one of the teams to beat in the East. Stamkos held up his end of the bargain, scoring a league-leading 58 goals, but the Lightning stumbled. Despite ranking among the top-15 in player spending, Tampa may not even be able to crack the top-three teams in the Southeast, the league’s worst division.
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