Panthers' Goalie Situation Resolves Itself

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Plante lets in a shorty. Photo: Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

After news came out that Panthers’ goalie Scott Clemmensen would sit out for over a month of the season after knee surgery, particular attention was paid by fans to last night’s game against the Stars.  Goalies Tyler Plante and Jacob Markstrom split time Tuesday night to effectively settle who would be the man to back up Jose Theodore.

Either option would make sense.  Plante, 24, has spent a long amount of time in the minor leagues and has been itching to get a shot to back up at the NHL level.  Markstrom, 21, is the doubtlessly the heir between the pipes for Florida, and the only question is whether he is ready to play now or needs more experience.  After the game against the Stars, it was certainly clear who deserved to be in the NHL to start the year.

Jacob Markstrom played close to flawless goaltending Tuesday night, as he did not let in a goal in the first one-and-a-half periods he played.  He was comfortable in the crease, was perfectly positioned all night, did not give up rebounds, and made some impressive saves.  Despite being on the power play three , the Stars’ offense was stifled by Markstrom, and he stopped all ten shots he faced. 

Plante, on the other hand, was shaky the minute he came in.  He was scored on fifteen seconds after coming in to replace Markstrom, and he couldn’t recover mentally.  For the rest of the game, Plante seemed so vulnerable that any extended period of pressure from the Stars would allot a goal. 

Plante certainly could’ve given up a fourth or fifth goal in the third period, but the Panthers dominated puck possession.  In a penalty-filled third, the Stars were shorthanded almost the whole time.  It wasn’t until overtime that Plante was challenged again, and he was beaten on a one-timer from the Stars’ Michael Ryder.

In the end, the goalie situation seemed well in hand for Markstrom.  He was the best we have ever seen him: he looked like Vokoun at his best.  Plante floundered in his audition, so expect him to lose out on the back-up job this year.  It looks like he’ll be heading to San Antonio, and Markstrom will be hanging out in Sunrise to begin the year.

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