Lightning defenseman admits to holding a grudge against the Leafs

Published September 14, 2023 at 9:47

The Leafs defeated the Lightning thanks to an overtime goal in Game 6, courtesy of John Tavares, to advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in 19 years. Unfortunately, the relief was short-lived as they were dominated in the second round by Florida. Following the Lightning's longest off-season since 2019, Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev revealed to Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek on 32 Thoughts that he and the team are still dwelling on their series loss to the Leafs.

"Yeah, obviously we're pissed off. We don't want to lose. 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. "In my head, we should've won the Cup."

While the Lightning are still pissed off, according to Sergachev, they will have a number of new faces in their lineup, including an entirely new fourth line as Pat Maroon, Ross Colton, Corey Perry and Pierre-Édouard Bellemare all became cap casualties. However, Sergachev mentioned that the pre-training camp skates they have been holding are much more intense than they usually are thanks to their playoff defeat.

"We'll see when camp starts how pissed off we are. The guys are very competitive even now. Usually, before camp, we skate [together]. We'll do five drills and play a game. Usually, it's like beer-league hockey. Now, it's intense. Some hitting, too. It's great. Competitive. No one is going to let me walk them on the blue line. It's not acceptable anymore."

The 25-year-old is entering the first year of his 8-year extension he signed in July of last year that will see him earn $8.5M per season. Sergachev and the Lightning will not have to wait long to show the Leafs just how pissed off they are as they visit Toronto on October 22nd in what will be the first meeting since the Leafs eliminated the Lightning.

September 14   |   285 answers
Lightning defenseman admits to holding a grudge against the Leafs

Do you think the Lightning would have won another Cup last season if they had gotten past the Leafs in round 1?

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