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Andrei Vasilevskiy said Friday the Tampa Bay Lightning "got too comfortable" last season, leading to their stunning postseason exit in a four-game sweep at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“The reality is the game is different in the playoffs and we weren’t ready for it,” Vasilevskiy told TSN Senior Hockey Reporter Frank Seravalli.
The Lightning went 62-16-4 in the regular season, posting the best record in the league since the 1995-95 Detroit Red Wings. After averaging 3.9 goals per game in the regular season, the Lightning were outscored 19-8 in their first-round series and quickly ousted by the wild-card Blue Jackets.
Vasilevskiy, who won the Vezina Trophy in June after recording a .925 save percentage in the regular season, saw that number dive to .856 in the playoffs. He signed an eight-year, $76 million contract extension with the team in July.
The Lightning, who sent an apology to their fans after the historic sweep, have reshaped parts of their roster this off-season with the additions of Kevin Shattenkirk, Luke Schenn, Curtis McElhinney and Stanley Cup winner Patrick Maroon.
“At my age, I wanted to go to a team with a winning atmosphere, a team with a chance to win,” Maroon told The Athletic of joining the team. “They had the best record in the league last year, and they’ve been so close to winning. I think I’d be a good fit.”
The team traded forwards J.T. Miller and Adam Erne this summer and is currently slated to start training camp without the services of 41-goal scorer Brayden Point, who remains unsigned as a restricted free agent.
The Lightning will begin their preseason against the Florida Panthers on Sept. 17.