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Cup Loss Aside, the NHL's East Still Runs Through Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos reacts after his goal during the first period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday, June 26, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. Three months after falling short in a bid to become the first club in 40 years to win three straight Stanley Cup titles, the Lightning entered training eager to begin the quest to reclaim the crown they relinquished to the Colorado Avalanche last season. (AP Photo/Phelan Ebenhack, File)
Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos reacts after his goal during the first period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday, June 26, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. Three months after falling short in a bid to become the first club in 40 years to win three straight Stanley Cup titles, the Lightning entered training eager to begin the quest to reclaim the crown they relinquished to the Colorado Avalanche last season. (AP Photo/Phelan Ebenhack, File)
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(AP) -- Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning are accustomed to short offseasons.

This one, the Lightning captain said, “wasn’t as fun as the previous two.”