The Tampa Bay Lightning eliminated the Carolina Hurricanes from postseason contention on the final day of the 2010-11 regular season and eventually finished one victory short of their first Stanley Cup finals appearance in seven years.
After near misses by both teams last season, each begins anew as they open their campaigns Friday night in Raleigh, N.C.
Tampa Bay finished fifth in the Eastern Conference last season, and its season-ending 6-2 victory April 9 kept the Hurricanes home after 82 games for the second straight season.
With 103 points, the Lightning (46-25-11) improved 23 points from 2009-10 under first-year general manager Steve Yzerman. It was their highest total since a 106-point season en route to winning the 2004 Stanley Cup.
Martin St. Louis finished second in the NHL with 99 points and was a Hart Trophy finalist for the league's MVP. He said given the surprising turnaround and last season's playoff run, which ended with a 1-0 loss to Boston in Game 7 of ...