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Lightning playoff preview: Tampa Bay's road to three-peat as Stanley Cup Champions

Ondrej Palat
Posted at 10:50 AM, Apr 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-02 09:30:53-04

For some teams, just making it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs is a successful season, but in recent years in the Tampa Bay Area, that's the bare minimum.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have clinched a playoff spot for the seventh time in the last eight seasons and are looking to win their third consecutive Stanley Cup, a feat no one has accomplished since the New York Islanders in the early 1980s.

The Bolts have returned the core of last year's championship team, losing only a couple of players while also gaining some vital players for this year's run.


But the path to remaining the NHL's top dog is a grueling one this year. Eight teams in the Eastern Conference alone had 100+ points this season, the first time that has ever been done in NHL history. With two games remaining, the Bolts have 108 points and sit at third place in the Atlantic Division.

Tampa Bay is set to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs.

The Maple Leafs have been a first round exit for five straight years and will hope to turn that around, though it's no easy task against the two-time defending champs.

The teams split the season series 2-2 but played two wild ones earlier this month, with the Maple Leafs winning 6-2 on April 4 before the Lightning then won 8-1 on April 21.

Toronto is the higher seed and will have home-ice advantage in the series. The Maple Leafs and Lightning have never met in the playoffs.