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Demers' Diary: Playoff Hockey From Here On Out

by Jason Demers jasondemers5 / FloridaPanthers.com

I think everything clicked on our last road trip.

We were playing the right way, getting good bounces, and then capitalizing on those bounces. We were getting scoring from all different lines and people were contributing from everywhere. When you have that kind of all-around team effort, it's tough to lose games

I know how tough it can be to play against teams in California. When I played with the San Jose Sharks, it was actually pretty fun because teams didn't really like coming out to play us. That being said, I thought we did a great job managing that and knowing that we're a team to beat too. 

From the start of the trip until the end, I thought we played the right way. We've been playing with confidence lately, especially since we got Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov back in the lineup. It's been absolutely huge for us to get healthy. It's definitely a big boost for us to go 5-0-0 on a tough trip like that.

Looking back at it, I feel like things started to swing our way in that San Jose game. It was back-and-forth all night. We gave up some chances, but I thought just the way we were able to find a way to win was huge, even though it was a 6-5 win and we might not have played our best hockey. 

Honestly, that game against the Sharks was probably the worst game we played on the entire road trip, but we still found a way to win. Anytime you can find a way to win, especially at this point in the season, it's a huge confidence builder. 

Video: FLA@STL: Trocheck tallies late go-ahead goal

Of course, that game in St. Louis was also pretty cool. 

It's always fun to win a game with only a few seconds left. That kind of elation you feel is amazing. I thought that moment was really a culmination of the whole road trip and the way we had been playing. Just like it was in San Jose, we found a way to win and had the confidence to know that we would.

As for the road ahead, it's going to be playoff hockey everyday. 

It's going to be another month-and-a-half of playoff hockey before we even get to the actual playoffs. We've got to make sure that we're getting our rest when we need it so we can give the full effort that we need every game.

It should really help having a lot of these upcoming games at home. It feels like we've been on the road for about two months. It's nice to get home and see the home crowd and hopefully keep that momentum going that we got on the road. 

A big part of our comeback this season has been the play of Roberto Luongo and James Reimer in net. I don't think we're where we're at, even before our winning streak, without those two guys. I think they've held us and carried us for a huge chunk of the season, especially when things were tough for us. They're a huge testament to our team. You can see the confidence that we have in them every game and they reward us with their play.

I've had some people ask me recently about what exactly is being said when we congratulate a guy like Lu or Reims on the ice after a big win. It's nothing special. It's usually just us telling them they did a good job, giving them a hug and letting out a sigh of relief together. I'm usually just telling them that everything is going to be all right.

Off the ice, it was nice to spend some time around San Francisco when we were in California for a few days. After playing in San Jose for a while, it was nice to get out and see a lot of things that I haven't seen in a while. I hadn't been back in three years for that long amount of time. It was cool to get around the city a bit.

What's the biggest difference between Florida and California, you ask?

That's easy: the humidity. 

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