Healthy Tim Thomas Sparks Florida Panthers Revival

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Spor

With wins in three of their last four, the Cats are gaining steam in front of the veteran netminder.

It looks like the Florida Panthers have every intention of getting their money's worth when it comes to goaltender Tim Thomas. The mustachioed 39-year-old veteran has started six consecutive games since returning from groin injury number two, leading the rebounding Cats to a 3-3 record over that span. New coach Peter Horachek, like Kevin Dineen before him, has not shied away from using Thomas, as he has gotten the starting nod in every game this season when 100% percent healthy.

How important is Thomas to the Panthers' fortunes this year? Well, the club now sports a 5-6 record, including three wins in their last four outings, with the former Bruin in goal. Compare this to the 1-6-4 record compiled by backups Jacob Markstrom and Scott Clemmensen and it's easy to see that a healthy Thomas is paramount to any success the Cats may have the rest of the way.

In the six games since Horachek was promoted from San Antonio to replace Dineen, Thomas has held the opposition to 15 goals, giving the offensively-challenged Panthers a chance to win every one of those tilts. The three losses suffered in those games were all by a single goal. Although the Cats have been close in almost every game (that wasn't against the Blues) this season, the team seems much more confident in front of the highly-decorated vet than the other goalies on the roster. Thomas has lowered his GAA to a solid 2.77 and has raised his save percentage to .910%. Markstrom and Clemmensen both sport a .877% save percentage and the duo are both surrendering over three goals-a-game.

Unfortunately for Florida, Thomas' two early stints on injured reserve set the club back in its quest to return to the playoffs after last year's miserable campaign. As of now, the Cats find themselves eight points out of the final wildcard spot, so they will need to pile up wins to get back in the thick of the race.  After the team returns from Alberta, it will begin an important five-game homestand.  It may turn out the early-season slide that spurred the coaching change, which included a nine-game losing streak, is indeed insurmountable, but there are still enough games left for a healthy Thomas to lead to the Panthers' back towards the respectability they briefly gained by capturing the Southeast Division in 2011-12, and maybe even to a surprising post-season appearance.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Litter Box Cats

You must be a member of Litter Box Cats to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Litter Box Cats. You should read them.

Join Litter Box Cats

You must be a member of Litter Box Cats to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Litter Box Cats. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker