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Jose Theodore sits out morning skate, Scott Clemmensen could start Game 6

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com
Clemmensen, who took the loss in Game 4, will start in Game 6. (Getty Images)

Well the Florida Panthers had a surprising turn of events at the morning skate before Game 6 on Tuesday, and not in a good way.

The team announced just as practice was beginning that they had recalled goaltender Jacob Markstrom from AHL San Antonio. It's not like Markstrom, the goalie of the future who saw some duty earlier this season with the Panthers, isn't busy. San Antonio is playing their own playoff games at the moment. So the move was just a bit confusing.

Then the Panthers took to the ice with Markstrom and Scott Clemmensen in the nets. Missing was starter Jose Theodore. With a chance to eliminate the Devils and punch their ticket into the second round for the first time since 1996, missing your starting goaltender doesn't exactly qualify as good news.

After practice Clemmensen confirmed with the media that he will be starting Game 6 for the Panthers and that Theodore is hurt, hence Markstrom's return. Clemmensen said he was given notice on Monday that something was up and Theodore might not be able to play.

"They told me to be ready over the past day or so," Clemmensen said. "Other than that we're going to take it as it comes. I'm fully expecting to make the start tonight and that's how it is. I'll be ready, but I known it was a possibility for a day or so."

Panthers coach Kevin Dineen didn't completely rule out Theodore for Game 6, but either way Clemmensen gets the start and Markstrom is on standby for backup duty.

"Right now, it's no different than Tomas Fleischmann that's taken off every morning skate," Dineen said. "We decided to give Theo the morning off and see where he's at tonight. He's a little bit tender right now. So, we'll evaluate as the day moves on and see if he's ready to play tonight or not."

The timing couldn't be much worse for Theodore. He was perfect in his last game, shutting the Devils out in Florida's 3-0 Game 5 win on Sunday.

The one bonus in it perhaps is the fact that Clemmensen has seen action in this series, releaving Theodore in Game 3 for a win and then starting Game 4. The gap between the Panthers' No. 1 and No. 2 isn't that great.

And if anything should happen to Clemmensen, well Markstrom has shown he's very capable in the net. In his seven apperances with the Panthers this season he posted a .923 save percentage. Talent wise he probably would have been fine in the NHL this season but Florida wants to break him in slowly.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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