The nasty truth is that Scott Clemmensen is not the most popular goalie in the Florida Panthers organization among the fan base. And why would he be? He lets in soft goals too often, he struggles on breakaways and shootouts, and the future is waiting in the wings in the person of Jacob Markstrom.
However every once in a while, Clemmensen puts forth an effort that reaffirms our small faith in him. Every once in a while, Clemmensen gets into his happy place and stops every scoring chance worth saving. He has gotten in the zone in games against the Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, and most recently the Winnipeg Jets.
Games like this show exactly how valuable Clemmensen can be in a Panthers uniform.
Even though I am a fan of Clemmensen, I hear where the other side of the aisle is coming from. Clemmer makes a great save one minute, than lets his guard down briefly and surrenders a lame goal. I see it just as many times as the next guy, and it always perplexes me. But games like last night against the Jets reminds us of how good he can be when he doesn’t make that critical mistake.
For the first two periods, Clemmensen was nearly impenetrable. He was focused, moving well laterally, and making all the saves to bail out the sometimes shaky defense in front of him. He was too often in the eye of the hurricane, as the Panthers had trouble with the breakout. At least two-thirds of the time was spent in our zone. Except for an unstoppable power play goal by Nik Antropov, Clemmer was up to the task for each scoring chance.
In the second, the Jets got two more, but that was still te fault of the defense. Both Nik Antropov and Alex Burmistrov had point blank chances. Neither was really saveable.
Regulation was well and good, but Clemmensen did his work in the shootout. Just like in regulation, he exuded confidence. He kept us in it for seven rounds. His greatest save of the day came against Nik Antropov, where he made a speawling stick save to rob a sure goal.
At the end of night, it was two points for the Panthers, and Clemmensen was a big reason why. The fact is, Clemmer keeps us in games, and we earn points when he plays. So maybe we should be a little easier on the guy, right?
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