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Features

30 in 30: Matthias' Consistency Is Panthers' X-factor

Sunday, 08.18.2013 / 5:05 PM / Features
By Mike Battaglino  - NHL.com Staff Writer
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30 in 30: Matthias\' Consistency Is Panthers\' X-factor
Shawn Matthias had a tremendous March for the Florida Panthers, scoring 11 times in 16 games. If he can come close to that pace this season, it will make Florida\'s hope for a playoff run that much more viable.
Forward Shawn Matthias celebrates one of his goals against New Jersey's Martin Brodeur (Getty Images)

Shawn Matthias played in 25 different months for the Florida Panthers and scored 28 goals.

Then, this March, he scored 11.

If he can come closer to that stretch more often than he hasn't, the center will be an incredibly helpful player for a Panthers team that has craved goals for years.

"I don't want to be a passenger, I want to be a leader," Matthias said in July, after re-signing for two years. "I'm working my butt off this summer and looking forward to having a big season."

Matthias did not even have a big April, going without a goal in 12 games, but said he was playing through an injury.

"The thing a lot of people don't know is I was pretty banged up near the end of the year there," he said. "I think the key is to stay healthy, and I'm going to come to camp ready to go. … I want to be the best player on the team."

That title in the past was held by close friend and former housemate Stephen Weiss. The forward signed with the Detroit Red Wings as a free agent, leaving Matthias, at 25 years old and with 253 games, as the longest-tenured Florida player.

"He's a special guy. He's been with the team for so long and he really cared about the Panthers. … I learned a lot from him," Matthias said of Weiss. "Saying that, I want to be the guy now. He's a good guy, he's my buddy, but at the same time, I'm not too sad to see him go. I want to take on that bigger role now."

The Panthers need him to. His 14 goals last season were tied for second on the team with rookie Jonathan Huberdeau, one behind the 15 scored by Tomas Kopecky.

Florida has had one 30-goal scorer in the past five seasons (David Booth, 31, 2008-09), and newcomer Scott Gomez is the only player on the Panthers roster to have one in the NHL (33 for the New Jersey Devils in 2005-06).

Matthias' hot streak of 11 goals in 16 games equates to 56 over 82.

The 47th pick of the 2006 NHL Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, Matthias was acquired by Florida for Todd Bertuzzi in February 2007.

Matthias scored 70 goals in 117 games during his final two Ontario Hockey League seasons, but since making his NHL debut in January 2008, he had scored in back-to-back NHL games once before leaving March like a lion, with five goals in the last three games.

"He had flashes of brilliance last year, now he just has to get more consistent," general manager Dale Tallon said. "He's still young, he's big (6-foot-4, 220 pounds), he can skate, and he's going to fit into what we've got coming as far as size and speed. He fits into what the plan is."

For all 30 in 30 stories go to NHL.com/30in30stories and for the full 30 in 30 schedule visit NHL.com/30in30.

Author: Mike Battaglino | NHL.com Staff Writer

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
3 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 DET 60 34 15 11 176 156 79
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 61 21 15 -9 36
J. Huberdeau 58 9 24 4 33
A. Ekblad 61 9 23 6 32
J. Jokinen 60 6 25 -3 31
B. Boyes 59 10 18 6 28
J. Hayes 52 17 10 -5 27
A. Barkov 50 9 12 -4 21
T. Fleischmann 52 7 14 12 21
B. Campbell 61 3 17 1 20
D. Bolland 37 3 13 2 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 22 16 11 .921 2.38
A. Montoya 4 6 2 .893 2.98
 
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