Lightning favored to win the Cup

- The Tampa Bay Lightning continue to push the pace at practice preparing for opening night. Last season's failure has left this team hungry for another shot. The tone set by head coach Jon Cooper in training camp has sent a strong message to this team.

"It was a real good camp," said Lightning defenseman, Victor Hedman. "The hardest one and the best one I've been a part of in my eight seasons."

"Toughest one I can remember from a conditioning standpoint," said Lightning center Steven Stamkos. "Guys are working hard and competing."

The Lightning will hit the ice on Friday night as the team to beat this season - against the Florida Panthers.

An EA Sports video game has simulated the season and is predicting the Lighting will beat the Edmonton Oilers in Game 7 for the Stanley Cup.

Stanley Cup predictions are nothing new for this team that has kept its core in place of the last few seasons. This Lightning team believes it is more prepared and more experienced to handle all the talk.

"We really aren't going to pay much attention to those types of predictions," said Stamkos. "But at the end of the day, we are going to be confident in our ability in this room. We feel with a healthy group this year and the work that the guys have put in during the summer that we can be a top team in this league."

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