Hey Panthers fans,

I feel like the days are going by fast now.

We’ve had a few off days in between these series, so all the guys have been able to skate, recover and regroup a bit before the Eastern Conference Final, which has been really nice.

This whole run has been a blast so far.

I think it was just perseverance that pushed us past the Bruins in Round 2.

There was obviously a lot of adversity in the series. They’re a hell of a team over there. It was an evenly-matched series, but we were able to grind through it. We were down in a lot of those games, including Game 6. For our guys to keep their composure, battle back and continue to play our game, that just shows you a lot about the leadership group we have here.

Barky, Chucky, Swaggy, Fors and all the other guys just stepped up and made plays.

The great thing about our group is that we have the same mentality regardless of the score. Whether we’re up or down, you wouldn’t be able to tell on the bench. These are all seven-game series. You’re seeing the same team every game, so you just want to play your style and try to get some momentum.


Watching Fors’ game-winning goal in Game 6 was actually kind of weird.

I think we were in the middle of a change, so no one really knew what happened right away. I just saw someone’s hands go up on the ice, and then everyone else on the bench started jumping up and down. It was just pure jubilation. Everyone was excited. In that moment, you’re just 1:33 away from a trip to the Eastern Conference Final and everyone’s jacked up.

But at the end of the day, there was still time left.

The block that Barky had on the penalty kill with like 30 seconds left, for him to play a make like that and bail us out was huge. Then once the game was finally over, it kind of felt like a weight was lifted. You’re moving on and get a fresh slate. You feel like you’re one step closer to the ultimate goal.

As a goalie, it was kind of a treat to watch the battle between Swayman and Bobby.

Bobby played so good and kept us in every game and made some timely saves. Then you look down at the other end and Swayman is just making save after save. For the most part, we weren’t really able to break it open against him. I think you just appreciate two guys going back and forth like that.

When we got back to the hotel after Game 6, it was just a loose environment. Everyone was happy, just keeping it loose and laughing. We had a team meal together and then everyone just went to the lounge. We played some cards and put the other hockey game and the NBA game on the TVs. Guys were just having a good time.

Everyone just loves being together on this team. 

As we prepare to face the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final, the good thing for us is that we’ve got a lot of guys that were on this team last year. For them, it’s sort of been there, done that. I think that experience will help us, but at the end of the day it’s just another series.

Going into Madison Square Garden and being on the road for Games 1 and 2 is going to be a little different for us, but it’s nothing that we can’t handle. I think everyone in this room is just excited to get going. The goal is just to play hard and try to match their intensity early.

You just want to go in there, quiet the crowd and get some good results.

See you when we get back to South Florida,

Anthony Stolarz

*As told to’s Jameson Olive