Another day, another goaltending switch in the NHL playoffs.
This time the change comes in Florida, as George Richards of the Miami Herald reports Scott Clemmensen will start for the Panthers in Game 4 against New Jersey — this after incumbent No. 1 Jose Theodore started the first three.
Florida’s decision comes just days after Vancouver parked longtime starter Roberto Luongo in favor of backup Cory Schneider, who started Games 3 and 4 in the Canucks-Kings series.
It’s somewhat surprising Florida head coach Kevin Dineen went this route. Theodore played well in Game 1, which featured one of the most lopsided periods in NHL history — the Devils outshot Florida 26-9, the most shots any NHL team had managed in a playoff first period since 1997 — and finished with 35 saves.
Theodore was solid again in the Game 2 victory, but then yanked just 6:16 into Game 3 after allowing three goals on six shots.
Clemmensen relieved Theodore, stopped every shot he faced, and the Panthers rallied for a 4-3 victory — which looks as though it cemented Dineen’s decision.
The big x-factor in all of this, though, is playoff experience…or lack thereof. The 34-year-old Clemmensen has never started a playoff game and, coming into this series, had exactly six minutes and 53 seconds of postseason experience.
Theodore, meanwhile, has over 50 postseason games on his resume, participating in the playoffs with four different teams (Montreal, Colorado, Washington and Florida.)