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Player Blog: Huberdeau Talks Hot Start, Playing with Confidence

by Jonathan Huberdeau / @JonnyHuby11 / FloridaPanthers.com

I feel like we've been steadily climbing ever since the season started.

Rather than enduring a bunch of ups and downs like a rollercoaster, we haven't really gotten too high or too low. We've just been picking up points and gradually taking small steps forward with each and every game. That's how it has to be and the mindset we want to have as we move forward.

When we play a good game, we want to come back and try to do exactly the same thing again the next time out. That being said, there's going to be bad games from time to time. That's just how it is in this league. But if we can just be consistent and keep this steady pace, we'll be fine.

I think the biggest thing we have going for us right now is confidence.

When we go into a game, we have it in the back of our minds that we're going to win. Even if we're down 2-1 or 3-1, it doesn't matter. That's the feeling we want to have in this room at all times. We have great guys here. We just need to keep jelling as a team and keep having fun.

It's like our win in Colorado last week. That was our biggest win of the season and so much fun to be a part of. When we got that late goal in the third and then won it in overtime, you could feel the team come to life. That hit on Jayce Hawryluk fired us up, and then we fought back to win it.

Video: FLA@COL: Huberdeau strikes quickly in overtime

To get such a big win at the end of a tough road trip was huge. I mean you're playing against a team like the Avalanche in their own building. You're dealing with the high altitude. You've been on the road for a week and you're tired. There were a lot of things like that working against us, but we didn't make excuses. We just went out there and got it done. That shows our character.

We don't try to talk too much when we're down in games like that. We just hop over the boards and go to work out there on the ice. If you want to win, you can't panic when you're down. That's what we did in Colorado and in a few other games already so far. That's the mindset we have.

Sure, we'd obviously want to have the lead and keep it every single game like we did against Detroit the other night, but that's not always going to happen. We're going to be trailing in more games this season, but we're not going to panic. We're always focused on one goal: winning.

A lot of that comes from Joel Quenneville, who is a great coach and is prepared every night.

Playing under Q, we have some freedom offensively. It's nice. He gives you a lot of confidence, but he also wants to be reliable in your own zone, too. We've been working a lot on that. Even as an offensive player, you don't want to get scored on. You want to have the puck. That's how we play. We want to get the puck as fast as possible so that we have more time in their zone.

Personally, I'm feeling confident right now. I've been trying to shoot a little bit more and be in better positions, which has resulted in some goals. I want to be a passer and a shooter, too. Hopefully it can continue for the whole season. I like scoring, but I like it more when we win.

I'm 26 now, so I feel like I'm a young veteran. I've been in this league eight years, and a lot of us have grown up together over the years. We've got the same core group of guys for a while -- guys like Aleksander Barkov, Aaron Ekblad, all those guys. We're trying to bring more leadership.

I remember at one point last year I said that I was sick of losing. I still am, but I think we have the team get it done now and get over the hump now. We added some guys that know about winning, and that's what we're doing. We're off to a good start, but there's a long way to go.

In the room, we're kind of jelling together right now. It's good to see. That's how you're going to win. You're going to come together, win games and have fun. We've been having a lot of fun so far. Even at practice we have good pace and fun at the same time. When you're winning, you're always smiling. It's good to have that back. It's been a long time since we've had that feeling.

Video: DET@FLA: Yandle sets up Huberdeau's second goal

With how we've been playing, I'm excited for all these games coming up at BB&T Center.

It's great to play at home in front of our own fans, especially for this many games. For myself, I'm always more relaxed and comfortable on home ice. It's going to be important for us to take advantage of this stretch. We've played well on the road, so now we've got to bring that home.

This first month was really fun, so let's just keep it going.

- Jonathan Huberdeau

*As told to FloridaPanthers.com's Jameson Olive

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