Steelers visit South Wales on Saturday night before a return leg at Sheffield Arena on Sunday (6.00).
The regular season head-to-head ended all-square and while Steelers have produced a disappointing defence of their league title – eventually finishing the regular season fifth – they are determined to end the campaign on a high.
"There's no doubt it's been a tough season," said Matsos.
"One of the things we have been lacking for most of the campaign was balance. One night we'd be good up front, but not at the back and vice versa.
"But I think we've got that balance right on a consistent basis now. We know we have to produce 12 periods of top hockey to win the play-offs."
Steelers would create history if they were to make Nottingham and then pull off a shock victory as it would give them a third straight play-off title.
A 2-0 victory over league champions Coventry Blaze in 2008 was followed by a win by the same scoreline over Nottingham last year.
But Matsos, who has no injury problems going into the first round weekend, says it will be a fine line between success and failure.
"This weekend against Cardiff could really go either way – not much separated us during the regular season and it will really be down to which team makes the fewest mistakes."