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What the playoffs mean to Thomas Hickey

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin is hit

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin is hit by Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey during the second period. (March 26, 2013) Credit: AP

Thomas Hickey didn’t get his name on the Stanley Cup, but he was on hand when the Kings won it last June. Hickey was the No. 4 overall pick by the Kings in 2007, but never played a game for L.A.

After joining the Isles on waivers in January, he’s had a big hand as one of the top four defensemen in what the Isles achieved this season -- his only goal was the OT winner in Montreal in February that kicked off the Isles’ second-half run.

Here's his take on being in the postseason:

“It started slow, I was just thankful for the opportunity and as it went, you get to a certain point where things started coming together for everyone. Playoffs were a goal from day one but they became more realistic as we went on.

“It’s extra special because you can tell the guys that have been here 4-5 years, you can feel it, you can see how happy they are. It’s a really special time of the year.

“It feels awesome. I’m super fortunate to have the opportunity, to be able to say I did my part, but you need that opportunity first and some guys don’t get that. After a while, you’re not just trying to fit in for yourself, you’re trying to make the team better. And everyone has found their role.

“[My goal] is one of those things I’ll remember for a long time. Every game’s big and that was another two points along the way, but for me confidence-wise, to start to get in those situations, be out in overtime and get that goal, you earn more trust.

“We’re a team that sort of worked with snowballs this year, whether it was the bad part at the start of the season or the good times when we’d get a little momentum, and a little more and a little more.”

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