The bizarre Panthers goaltending situation got even stranger on Tuesday as the Panthers took the morning skate — without starting netminder Jose Theodore.
In his stead, AHL San Antonio Jacob Markstrom was on the ice, meaning Scott Clemmensen will start in tonight’s massive Game 6 against the New Jersey Devils.
This is the latest spin on Florida’s goaltending carousel. Prior to Theodore’s injury, Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen had been playing coy with his netminders — he only announced his Game 1 starter, Theodore, hours before puck drop, then switched to Clemmensen in Game 4.
When that backfired (Clemmensen lost, 4-0) Dineen went back to Theodore in Game 5 and the veteran responded well, stopping all 30 shots faced for his first playoff shutout since 2004.
Some things to consider:
— Clemmensen confirmed he’s starting, according to Rich Chere of the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
— Dineen, coy as ever, refused to rule Theodore out, only saying that he missed the morning skate because he was “tender.”
— George Richards of the Miami Herald has been told Theodore’s injury is “not serious.”
— From NHL.com’s Dan Rosen: “Clemmensen was told a day ago to be ready for the start. He was surprised, but says he is ready and it helps he has played in this series.”
— Dineen was full of praise for Theodore after Game 5. “For me that’s Theo. That’s what I expected,” the first-year coach said. “A true professional.”
— As we’ve mentioned on several occasions, Clemmensen’s playoff experience is minimal. Coming into this year he’d played seven minutes of postseason hockey and in his first-ever career playoff start, he was bombed for four goals on 27 shots.
— Markstrom’s NHL body of work is limited (eight games), but he did look impressive. The lanky Swede posted his first career shutout against the Isles in October, then proceeded to stop 40 of 41 shots the next night out against Montreal.
Unfortunately, that was his last win. Markstrom’s lost the last four games he’s played in.