Center Shawn Matthias grew up watching the Stanley Cup playoffs on TV. The 24-year-old remembers marveling over the intense action in front of packed arenas.
Over the past few years, though, Matthias found it hurt more than entertained when he watched other teams extend their seasons and battle for the coveted trophy.
“Now, being out there — the first few games I was nervous — but I’m right into it now,” Matthias said. “I know what I’ve got to do. The team’s been playing hard and we’ve just got to compete every shift and watch the details and play hard.”
With Florida’s 3-2 series lead over New Jersey, the organization is on the cusp of winning its first playoff series since 1996.