The Tampa Bay Lightning have emerged as the class of the NHL over the last few seasons. In fact, they became somewhat unbeatable, or so it seemed. Tampa won two consecutive Stanley Cups and made a third Stanley Cup Final in 2022. In 2022, they finally fell, losing to the Colorado Avalanche.

Despite that loss, the Lightning had high expectations heading into the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They faced off with the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team that hadn't won a playoff series in nearly 20 years. In fact, Tampa had defeated the Maple Leafs in 2022 en route to the Final.

This spring, however, brought a different result. The Lightning fell in six games to the Maple Leafs. It was a painful loss at the time, and the pain still remains for one player on the Lightning roster.

“In my head, we should've won the Cup. Every year we should win the Cup, in my head. Yeah, obviously we're pissed off. We don't want to lose,” Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev said, via Sportsnet.

Sergachev noted that Tampa Bay were well aware of Toronto's playoff misery heading into that series. And they knew what losing that series meant given that history.

“We don't want to be the team that Toronto finally got to the second round, and they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning. They didn't go through the second round. But we didn't want to be that and lose to them,” Sergachev said, via Sportsnet.

This season, the Lightning will look to make up for their playoff failure against Toronto. Sergachev and Tampa Bay begin their 2023-24 season at home on Oct. 10 as they play host to the Nashville Predators.