BRANDON, Fla. (FOX 13) - It's a welcome sight and one that gives the top team in the league a huge boost to open up the playoffs. The Lightning's best defenseman, Victor Hedman is back.
"Vic is a big part of our team," said Tyler Johnson. "When he's back with us and in good spirits. I think it pumps everyone up and he looked good today."
The Lightning look very good to start what could be a long, tough two-month grind towards the Stanley Cup Final.
"We're still playing that game we were playing all season long that we had a lot of success with. So let's keep it going," said Steven Stamkos.
Thanks to former Lightning head coach, Jon Cooper, and current head coach, John Tortorella, the Lightning hold the title of most playoff appearances. Cooper has done it in five out of his six years as the Lightning head coach.
Tortorella, however, has the one thing that Cooper covets: Lord Stanley's Cup.
"We pretty much have done everything else except that," said Cooper. "The group has had a lot of playoff games the last few years. We're probably top three in the league in what we've played. You just can't rely on the experience."
"Everyone's dream when they come into the league is to be holding that Stanley Cup," said Stamkos. "That's still my dream that I have and I want it to become a reality. But you have to earn it."
The Lightning take their first step towards the title Wednesday night at 7.