The NHL post-season is well-underway. Top prizes in the NCAA have already been decided. During the regular season, the Tampa Bay Lightning stood head-and-shoulders above the rest of the league. The Lightning easily won the Presidents' Trophy, given to the NHL team with the best record. In fact, the team tied the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings for the most regular season games won.

The Lightning have been swept out of the playoffs

Before the playoffs, some were wondering if any other team could stop the Lightning.

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The answer quickly became yes, as they were eliminated without winning a single game. The Columbus Blue Jackets, who barely made the playoffs, won the best-of-seven series, 4-0. As CBS Sports indicates, it's the most disappointing performance by a Presidents' Trophy winner since its creation.

Disappointing performances from Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov, arguably the team's biggest stars, were among the problems.

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Kucherov didn't even play during the third game of the series. He had been suspended due to a particularly violent hit he made on the Blue Jackets' Markus Nutivaara. The hit has been attributed to Kucherov's frustration with how the series had been going.

So disastrous was the post-season performance that The Lightning released a mea culpa through Twitter. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the response to the statement has been mixed among the fanbase.

Regular season success has not been a strong indicator of post-season success

During the NHL's history, the best regular season team has often struggled during the post-season. On the flip side, teams with disappointing regular seasons have had great success. Perhaps the most drastic example is the 1937-38 Chicago Blackhawks (then spelled 'Black Hawks'), pre-dating Presidents' Trophy. The Blackhawks finished 11 games under .500 and had the worst goal differential in the league.

However, they managed to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs for the Stanley Cup. This was likely in part due to the low amount of teams in existence at the time.

A more recent example is the 2011-12 Los Angeles Kings. The Kings had been the lowest seed in the Western Conference, but put on a domination playoff performance, culminating in the Stanley Cup. Along the way, the Kings defeated that season's Presidents' Trophy recipients, the Vancouver Canucks, in the first round.

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The Lightning themselves took out the Presidents' Trophy-winning New York Rangers in the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals. Later, the Lighting would lose the Stanley Cup to the Blackhawks. Even the 1995-96 Red Wings team that The Lightning tied failed to win it all. Though they at least made it to the Western Conference Finals. There, they fell to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche.

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It is true that many Presidents' Trophy winners fail to win the championship, several being eliminated in the first round. However, the Lightning's failure to notch a single victory is a first. And it's especially striking given the dominant performance in the regular season. ESPN's Chris Fowler has suggested it to be the biggest post-season disappointment in sports history.

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