Tim Thomas’ latest injury isn’t cause for major concern.
That was the word out of Florida on Thursday as Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen said the club doesn’t expect Thomas, 39, to miss much time with his second lower-body injury of the year.
“We’re confident that he’s not going to be [out] long-term. He’s a quick healer,” Dineen told the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “Unfortunate, but the short-term situation is we’ll give [Scott Clemmensen] a call, and goaltending depth is becoming a factor in our season already.”
The Panthers put Thomas on injured reserve Wednesday with a leg injury, roughly one week after he returned from a groin injury that cost him four games.
The former Conn Smythe and Vezina winner suffered his latest setback during a 3-2 shootout loss to Chicago on Tuesday, exiting the contest with three minutes remaining in regulation.
Because of Florida’s schedule — the Panthers play Buffalo on Friday, Tampa Bay on Sunday, then have four days off — it’s possible Thomas will only miss a pair of games before getting activated off IR.
After Sunday’s game against the Bolts, Florida doesn’t play again until Friday, Nov. 1 against St. Louis. So there’s a chance Thomas will be activated in time for rematch against the Blues, who whipped Florida 7-0 earlier this season.
On the year, Thomas has posted a 3.11 GAA with a .905 save percentage, but those numbers are skewed thanks to a two-game stretch in which he allowed five goals on 28 shots the blowout loss to St. Louis, then followed it by allowing two goals on five shots against Philly before getting yanked due to the aforementioned groin injury.
Over his last three games, Thomas has actually played quite well — he stopped 37 of 40 in the loss to Boston, 30 of 31 in a shootout win over Minnesota and 25 of 27 against Chicago.