The other headliners
The Lightning faces several threats in its quest to reach its third consecutive Eastern Conference final. Here are the biggest:
PENGUINS: The defending Stanley Cup champions, who ousted the Lightning in last season's Eastern Conference final, returns basically the same team. But Sidney Crosby's latest concussion, which will sideline him indefinitely, casts a shadow.
PANTHERS: The Lightning's cross-state rivals won the Atlantic Division last season, finishing six points ahead of Tampa Bay. With ageless star Jaromir Jagr, 44, and a talented young core, the Panthers should be in the hunt again.
CAPITALS: At some point, Alex Ovechkin & Co. have to finally break through in the postseason, right? The reigning Presidents' Trophy winners have the league's best scorer in Ovechkin and the reigning Vezina Trophy-winning goalie in Braden Holtby.
Joe Smith, Times staff writer