Stamkos: Lightning's early playoff exit 'a wasted opportunity'
Mark LoMoglio / National Hockey League / Getty

A disappointed Tampa Bay Lightning team faced the media Thursday after suffering a sweep at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the NHL playoffs.

Captain Steven Stamkos delivered a blunt assessment of the postseason letdown.

"This group has a long summer to live with this. A wasted opportunity," Stamkos said, according to The Athletic's Joe Smith.

The Lightning tied the NHL record with 62 wins in the regular season before becoming the first Presidents' Trophy winners of the expansion era - beginning in 1967-68 - to get swept in the first round of the playoffs.

"We've done a lot of winning here but still nobody is satisfied, internally and externally. We know the standard. We say a lot of things but you have to go out on the ice and do it. We didn't do it," Stamkos added.

The 29-year-old recorded a career-high 98 points in the regular season but managed to find the scoresheet only twice versus the Blue Jackets.

Stamkos' disappointment was echoed by his teammates, including goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.

"We're all empty inside," Vasilevskiy said.

"The Presidents' Trophy won't help any team win in the playoffs unless they bring hard work and attitude to the playoffs," he added.

Stamkos: Lightning's early playoff exit 'a wasted opportunity'
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