Hey Panthers fans,

Last night was definitely the start we wanted to this series.

We’ve earned the right to be here, so it’s just about capitalizing on this opportunity in front of us. I know it’s back-to-back trips to the Eastern Conference Final, but we’re not taking anything for granted. We know these opportunities don’t come around too often.

We can’t get comfortable with just being here.

We have to make sure we get the job done.

For myself, it’s been great to be back out there with the boys these last few games. It was tough to watch from the sidelines during the most important time of the year there for a bit. You want to be helping your team win, but one of the big strengths of our team is our depth.

We have guys that can plug in and plug out and not miss a beat. The coaching staff does a great job, and the guys do a great job of staying dialed in and staying prepared. We’re a tight group. No one ever gets isolated when they’re out of the lineup. We’re all one big team here.

It’s just about being ready when your number gets called. You’d always like to be in the lineup every game, but there were some guys that got in there and were playing really well. It’s never going to work out of if you’re sitting there wanting someone to fail for your opportunity. The best way to do it is just cheer them on and stay ready.

If you just look up and down our lineup, we’re so good. We’re such a deep team with so many great players. For the fourth line, especially, we’ve got to earn what we get. For us, it’s about jumping over the boards every game and doing what we can to earn another shift.

I really like what we accomplished as a line in Game 1 with Stenny and Cuzzy. When Cuzzy and I are out there, we like to have fun. We like to keep it light. We don’t like to get too zoned in. It’s part of our personalities. We want to bring energy and just be upbeat. Something our team thrives off of is just staying loose and having fun. We all want to enjoy the moment.

Overall, it was great to start the series with a win and it’s a dream come true to get to play in big games like this at Madison Square Garden. It’s one of the most well-known venues in the world. For us, it’s just finding that nice balance between taking it all in and taking care of business right now.

We just want to keep winning and keep stacking pucks.

You can only celebrate so much in the playoffs. We liked Game 1, but it’s over. It’s the first to four. Win or lose, our mentality is always the same. We’re hungry for Game 2 on Friday.

After that, we’re excited to be back to South Florida to see our fans for Games 3 and 4.

Thanks for reading,

Ryan Lomberg

*As told to FloridaPanthers.com's Jameson Olive

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