Talk about waiting until the last minute.
According to Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen, there’s no rush in deciding which goalie — Jose Theodore or Scott Clemmensen — will start in Game 1 of Florida’s first round series against New Jersey.
The game isn’t until Friday, so why not wait until…Friday?
That’s exactly what he plans to do.
“I’ll give it a gut-check,” Dineen told the Associated Press. “I haven’t talked to my belly yet. Our goalies have been excellent for the most part, and that makes for a quality choice when we do get going.”
More, from the AP:
Over the last month, Clemmensen’s numbers would suggest he has an edge.
In four starts and one brief relief appearance, Clemmensen’s goals-against-average is 1.19 and he’s stopped 96 percent of the shots he’s faced. Theodore’s GAA over that span is 2.27 in 12 starts, saving 92 percent of shots coming his way.
Clemmensen faced the Devils once this season, stopping 27 of 28 shots in a 3-1 win on Feb. 11. Theodore played twice against New Jersey, making 54 saves on 59 shots as the Panthers won once in regulation and lost the other in a shootout.
The major difference between Clemmensen and Theodore is in playoff experience. Theodore has played over 50 postseason games, going to the dance with four different organizations (Montreal, Colorado, Washington and now, Florida.)
Clemmensen, meanwhile, has exactly six minutes and 53 seconds of playoff experience — which came in in New Jersey during a relief appearance of Martin Brodeur in the 2005-06 playoffs.
Dineen acknowledged Theodore had a far more impressive playoff resume, but stressed the Game 1 decision would be based on current form, not past.
“I know he’s a heck of a goalie that’s had playoff success and I know he’s played some quality hockey for us this year,” Dineen said, speaking of Theodore. “And Clem’s done a heck of a job for us for the last three weeks. So exciting time in our net, to say the least.”