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Defense key to Lightning success

Updated: January 31, 2013, 5:56 PM ET
By Craig Custance

This offseason, when Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman and coach Guy Boucher discussed what needed to be done to get the team back into the playoffs, the focus turned quickly to defense. So much attention was placed on the Lightning goaltending situation, but they both knew they had to add at least one top-four defenseman. Preferably a right-handed shot to fit in with Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos on the power play.

In breaking down the market, they realized just how limited the supply was on defense.

"Steve made miracles," Boucher said during a Wednesday phone conversation. "There were five legitimate top-four defensemen available in free agency. We got two of them. Thirty teams were after them. And it totally changed our team."

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