A quandary: who do Panthers start in next two games?

SUNRISE, FL - DECEMBER 31: Mike Blunden #45 of the Montreal Canadiens looks back as goaltender Jose Theodore #60, who was injured in a collision with Dmitry Kulikov #7 of the Florida Panthers on December 31, 2011 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)


#panthers José Théodore (knee) will be out for two weeks. Could be longer.

Assuming the Tweet above carries any validity - and as I type these words, no confirmation or denial has officially been offered by the club, nor through the usual channels - Florida fans can confidently assume that Cats starter Jose Theodore (knee) will not be starting anything more than his car over the next several days at the very least (and coach Dineen previously confirmed he'd be missing the upcoming two games anyway).

More, and a poll after the jump...

Regardless of whether Theo's out two games or two months, the following five opponents are on deck: at the Rangers Thursday, at New Jersey Friday, hosting Vancouver Monday, Pittsburgh (1/13) & Boston (1/16). Don't need to check the standings to figure out the world of hurt these clubs could put into Florida's second-half kickoff. And for the good of our collective mental health, please don't mention the twin creeping menaces of Winnipeg or Washington...

Back to goaltending, and those NY/NJ matches.

So Theo's out. This much we're fairly clear on, which leaves a duo of Scott Clemmensen and (yet to be recalled) Jacob Markstrom fending the nets in two mighty high-profile road games. Markie likely/maybe/perhaps plays Wednesday in the second of back-to-back games for San Antonio (did not start Tuesday).

Clemmer had a spectacular night Saturday in a fill-in role after Dmitry Kulikov inadvertently landed on Theodore, stopping 17 shots while picking up the "W" for Florida. This performance of course came on the heels of a 4-1 loss (his only defeat in regulation) to the Rangers, where he - and the wonky skaters before him - surrendered 3 early goals on 14 shots. Yep, the same Rags we're staring at on the horizon, though it looks as if a few regulars may thankfully be returning to the lineup. Clemmer has not faced the Devils this year, though he is 3-0-0 (2.36/.930) lifetime against his former club.

Markstrom is 1-3-0 on the road with Florida. He's never faced the Rangers, and only played in a relief role vs New Jersey a year ago (his NHL debut, filling in for - yessir - a shelled Clemmer). In 14 games with the Rampage, Markie is 6-7-0 (2.75/.909)

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