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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 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 44 15 12 1 27
J. Huberdeau 41 8 17 1 25
A. Ekblad 44 6 19 7 25
J. Jokinen 43 4 20 0 24
J. Hayes 36 13 7 1 20
B. Boyes 42 9 11 1 20
S. Bergenheim 33 7 9 4 16
T. Fleischmann 38 5 8 9 13
V. Trocheck 28 4 9 6 13
D. Kulikov 39 1 12 -2 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 17 10 8 .923 2.32
A. Montoya 3 4 2 .887 3.09
 
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