The Florida Panthers had an all around tough day Saturday, losing 6-2 in Carolina while also losing Jose Theodore and Dmitry Kulikov to injuries. These injuries just a game after losing Mike Weaver to a serious looking injury. Jose Theodore looked to be in intense pain after making stopping the Hurricanes first shot of the game, he fell face down on the ice after the save and had to be helped off the ice.
Scott Clemmensen came in to replace Theodore in the net.
Clemmensen was characteristically inept in the net and the Hurricanes scored three goals in a span of just over three minutes in the first period. Shawn Matthias scored his fourth of the year towards the end of the first to bring the score to 3-1, but the game was already out of reach. Carolina rookie Riley Nash scored his first NHL goal in the second period, followed by Eric Staal who scored his 11th of the season with some brilliant stick work in front of the net. Filip Kuba got his first of the season to bring the second to a close. Eric Staal would score one more in the third to wrap up the scoring and bring to a close a dark day for the Panthers.
In the second period, Dmitry Kulikov left the ice holding his wrist, he did not return. The Panthers did not put up much of a fight in what was an important game against the first place team in the Southwest division. Florida coach Kevin Dineen had this to say about the loss, “We were not prepared to play this game. It was a big divisional game against our first-place team, and it looked like from the drop of the puck that we weren’t prepared, and that leads to injuries to a certain extent too. If you don’t have your game face on, boy, it’s a man’s game out there.” (source)
It was not all bad news last night, Scottie Upshall made his return after missing 13 games with an ankle injury. He logged a hefty 4:33 of ice time in his return. Forward Kris Versteeg is also close to returning.
The Panthers will get a chance to avenge last nights loss when they face Carolina in South Florida tonight. With Theodore out, Jacob Markstrom will be called up and it looks like he will make the start. Also according to the Miami Herald, Nolan Yonkman, 31, will fill in for the injured Kuilkov.