The Tampa Bay Lightning were greeted by hundreds of fans upon at Tampa International Jet Center on Tuesday afternoon, less than a day after losing Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final to the Chicago Blackhawks, 2-0 at United Center, and failing to win the championship.
The Lightning remained in Chicago on Monday night and arrived home around 2:30 p.m. ET.
"It's tough not being able to come back with the Cup," captain Steven Stamkos said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. "To see the turnout here and to see the turnout [Monday at the watch party at Amalie Arena] is pretty remarkable."
The Lightning players and coaches took pictures and signed autographs with fans.
"That was unbelievable support all season long," Stamkos told WDAE 620 AM/95.3 FM in Tampa. "I know we didn't get it done, but your support was unbelievable and we appreciate it a lot."
Defenseman Victor Hedman said he is already looking forward to next season.
"Huge thanks to all the fans that came out," Hedman told the radio station. "Obviously we couldn't make it, but we appreciate all the support the whole year and we will be back stronger next year."
The Lightning defeated the Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers to get to the Stanley Cup Final.
"It's awesome seeing you guys here," forward Ryan Callahan said. "It means a lot to us and we appreciate it."