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Panthers Insider

Theodore Making A Difference

Monday, 03.12.2012 / 5:00 PM
By Glenn Odebralski - FloridaPanthers.com / Panthers Insider
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Panthers Insider
Theodore Making A Difference

Goaltender Jose Theodore makes one of his 34 saves against Carolina on Sunday for his third shutout of the season (Getty Images)
A lot of times in hockey, the best player on the ice has to be the goaltender. For the Panthers lately, Jose Theodore has certainly been that.

"I can basically give you a one word answer there and I think he's played excellent," said Panthers Head Coach Kevin Dineen regarding Theodore's recent play following practice at the BankAtlantic Center on Monday. "He's a difference maker right now."

Theodore has missed time this season due to a knee injury but has been fantastic for the Panthers since returning on February 12. While his record in the 12 games he has played is just 5-4-2, Theodore has posted a .928 save percentage and a 2.20 goals-against average. In his last seven games, the netminder has registered a 4-2-1 record. A free agent signee this past off-season, Theodore has allowed two goals or less in nine of his 12 games since returning from the injury.

"I think coming back off my knee injury the second time, I just felt really, really good," said Theodore following Sunday's shutout of Carolina, his third of the season. "I've been practicing hard with (goaltending coach) Robbie (Tallas) and the last 25 games, it's why you play for.

"It's the most fun of the year and you want to make the best out of it. Right now as a team, we're responding well."

His teammates know that Theodore, or even Scott Clemmensen for that matter, have their backs, especially down the stretch. Case in point came with Carolina coming at Florida in waves, specifically in the second period when they posted 19 shots Sunday night.

"Theo was, just like all year he's been extremely great for us," said defenseman Jason Garrison following the Panthers victory. "He made some huge saves and kept us in it."

"Theo is playing unbelievable right now," said forward Tomas Fleischmann. "We have got to help him."

"When you look at the scoreboard and you're up by one goal, you know every save is big," said Theodore of his performance Sunday. "I was just seeing the puck well. The guys played well in front of me. This time of year, it's all about competing, playing playoff hockey and that's what we did."

With just 14 games left in the season, the Panthers will rely on the netminders in winning games. With games becoming more closely contested, a strong goaltending performance can be huge for the rest of the team in propelling them forward. Or on the opposite spectrum, a poor performance can dash playoff hopes.

"If we keep winning, that's all that's going to matter," said Theodore. "Honestly, you do look at the other teams. It's going to be a battle and it's not going to be easy."

"It's pitching in baseball. It's a goalie in soccer. It's a quarterback in football," said Dineen. "It's a key position and when you have that player playing at the top of his game, not only on the prevent side, but I also think it is great for the confidence of your players."
 

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
3 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
11 OTT 61 27 23 11 173 166 65
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 64 22 16 -9 38
J. Huberdeau 61 9 28 3 37
A. Ekblad 64 11 23 7 34
J. Jokinen 63 6 28 -1 34
B. Boyes 62 11 21 8 32
J. Jagr 60 12 19 -10 31
J. Hayes 55 17 12 -4 29
B. Campbell 64 3 20 2 23
A. Barkov 53 10 12 -5 22
V. Trocheck 34 5 11 8 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 16 11 .921 2.37
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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