Theodore to start, Garrison to play for Panthers in Game 7

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According to Rich Chere of the New Jersey Star-Ledger, Florida Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen’s confirmed Jose Theodore will start in goal for tonight’s Game 7 against the Devils and that defenseman Jason Garrison will return to the lineup as well.

Going back to Theodore means the Panthers will have alternated starters in each of their last five playoff games. Theodore started Game 3, Clemmensen Game 4, Theodore Game 5, Clemmensen Game 6…and now Theodore for Game 7.

It’s one of the most bizarre playoff goaltending situations in recent memory, especially for a team on the verge of advancing to the second round.

As for Garrison, getting him back after a three-game absence will be huge. One, he’ll help out Florida’s struggling power play, which has gone 1-for-13 over the last three games. Two, he’ll lighten the load on a defense that was thin to begin with prior to his and Keaton Ellerby’s injuries.

In Game 6, Florida once again used a heavy five-man defensive rotation with Brian Campbell (27:10), Mike Weaver (25:24), Dmitry Kulikov (23:40), Erik Gudbranson (20:37), Ed Jovanovski (20:14) all playing a ton to compensate for AHL San Antonio call-up Tyson Strachan (13:34).