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Lightning's Stamkos excited by improvement in leg

by NHL.com Staff / NHL.com

Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos told reporters on the first day of training camp Thursday that he's feeling great after missing much of last season due to a broken leg.

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"I did all the tests. No issues," he said. "I'm just excited heading into this year knowing how much better it feels now. ... I didn't know what to expect heading into the summer. It was a good summer. … Probably around the year mark is when it's going to feel probably back to normal. I'm just excited at the way it feels compared to the way it ended off last year."

Stamkos scored 25 goals in the regular despite being limited to 37 games, and the Lightning finished second in the Atlantic Division. He had two goals and four points in their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens, but Tampa Bay saw its first trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in three seasons end in a sweep.

Goalie Ben Bishop missed the series with a dislocated elbow and later had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his wrist. Bishop still is recovering, but said Thursday he won't be limited in practice.

The Lightning have loftier goals this season, but Stamkos cautioned they will face a tougher road meeting them.

"I know the expectations are higher, but we're not going to surprise anyone this year," he said. "The young guys that had great seasons last year, it's going to be a challenge for them too. Teams are going to know what to expect. In that regard I think we can use that motivation that teams aren't going to be surprised by the Tampa Bay Lightning anymore. They're going to come in here expecting a good game."

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