Coming into this season, there were many questions when this new look team was put together. There were questions on whether or not this team would build enough chemistry to get off to a hot start. They opened up the season 7-4-0. Questions on whether or not the defense was deep enough to be effective were a major concern. For about 3 months, the defensive core had the most points of any other defensive group in the NHL. Oh, and Brian Campbell is currently 2nd in points among defensemen. My biggest question, and I’m pretty sure other people were questioning this as well was, how effective would Jose Theodore be? Well, it’s clear to me that Jose Theodore has been more than anyone could’ve hoped for.
In my first post here with TheRatTrick, I talked about whether or not Jose would be able to Be A Reliable Goalkeeper All Year Long , and in that post I talked about how Jose Theodore knows how to win. This remains to be true. Although Theodore has been sidelined with a couple of injuries this season, he still has an impressive record of 16-11-6. Of those 11 losses, I would say 4-6 were actually losses that the Panthers could not have come back from. With an impressive .920 Sv%, Theodore ranks 11th in the NHL in that category if you count the players that have played as many games as he has.
Since coming off his most recent lower body injury, Theodore has been specatular. Although he is only 3-2-1, he has only allowed more than 2 goals once in the 7 games in which he has played. He did how ever allow two goals in the Ottawa game in which he replaced Scott Clemmensen midway through the 2nd period. His Sv% through those 7 games was .934. His .934 save percentage throughout the month of February was the best save percentage he has had of any month thus far. He also allowed only 13 goals, giving him a 1.85 GAA for the month of February.
After last night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Theodore just proved my point even more.
“You look at the stats, they are the best they have been in 15 years, so I can’t complain,” Jose Theodore.
Although he gave much credit to the Panthers offense last night, Theodore is feeling like a 20 year old once again. What more could you ask for?
I would have to say that the main reason the Panthers are still in 1st place and still in this race, goes on the back of Theodore. With the Panthers only averaging 2.4 goals per game, no matter what team you are, people are going to question you. But Theodore has put some of those questions to rest with incredible play and incredible saves.
With the playoffs one month away, Theodore has to carry this team on his back the rest of the way. Goaltenders can not get hurt during this part of the season, it’s just to crucial to have a solid goaltender this late into the season. With Jose Theodore having 51 playoff games under his belt, his veteran leadership and experience will be huge if the Panthers manage to hold onto a playoff spot. Yes its important to be a high seed, but to me as long as you get in, you have a shot no matter what. Things change in the playoffs, players get hot, teams get cold. The Panthers are in perfect position to take full advantage of any opponent that comes there way. Jose Theodore will be the main reason this team makes the playoffs, and one can only pray that he stays healthy at the age of 35. No more injuries. Theodore has also been a mentor to young Jacob Markstrom, and one can expect amazing goaltending for many years to come. But for now, this is Theodore’s time to propel us forward to a playoff spot.
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