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Stamkos defiant after three-peat falls short: 'Who says we're done?'

Christian Petersen / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Steven Stamkos dismissed the notion that the Tampa Bay Lightning's era of excellence is over because they lost the Stanley Cup Final to the Colorado Avalanche.

"Who says we're done?" the Lightning captain told reporters, including The Athletic's Joe Smith, after a 2-1 loss in Game 6 that ended the Bolts' season.

Stamkos also lamented how the loss must feel for Tampa's 2021-22 roster additions, who joined the club after it won the previous two championships.

"I'm just sick to my stomach for some of these guys," the veteran forward said, according to Lightning Insider's Erik Erlendsson. "Some guys didn't get a chance to win with us the past couple of years. And when they signed with us, we told them, 'We're going to make a run,' and we come up short. It's a gut punch."

Lightning head coach Jon Cooper echoed Stamkos' sentiments in terms of unfinished business and the squad's legacy.

"We're not done," the bench boss said, according to team reporter Gabby Shirley. "The last eight years we've been to six conference finals. You know what today is? Today's a crushing loss. We played the whole season to get to this goal. We finished two days short of being a part of history, but this group is a part of history."

The Lightning became the first club to reach three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals since the Edmonton Oilers did it from 1983-85.

Only the New York Islanders (1980-84) and Montreal Canadiens (1976-80) won more playoff series in a row than Tampa Bay, which claimed 11 straight before falling to the Avalanche. The Islanders won 19 consecutive series while the Canadiens prevailed in 13 in a row.

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