Tim Thomas is showing his age.
The Florida Panthers netminder has looked quite good since returning from a groin injury earlier this season. He was looking good again on Tuesday night against the Blackhawks until that lower-body injury creeped back up on another sprawling save attempt. At the next stoppage Thomas skated to the bench in obvious discomfort and had to leave the game.
We saw a very similar injury to Thomas earlier this season in Philadelphia early in the game. He came out and missed a few starts nursing a sore groin and while it's just a guess, it seems like it could be the issue once again. Groin issues are always a concern for goalies, especially ones that are pushing 40 years old.
The Panthers gave no update on Thomas but it doesn't seem that positive per team broadcaster Steve Goldstein.
Kevin Dineen pretty much says Clemmensen will be coming up from AHL after Tim Thomas leaves with injury. #FlaPanthers— Steve Goldstein (@goldieonice) October 23, 2013
Just the same as he did against Philly, Jacob Markstrom relieved Thomas after the injury. Against the Flyers he came in just a few minutes into the game and didn't allow a Flyers goal for the rest of it. The circumstances were a bit different (and tougher, one would presume) as Markstrom had to come in for Thomas with 2:59 left in a tie game against the defending champs. The Panthers were able to get the game to a shootout but then Markstrom had to face Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp, surrendering goals to Toews and Sharp as the Panthers lost 3-2.
Thomas returned for a game against the Bruins last week and made 37 saves on 40 shots. He followed that by making 30 saves on 31 shots against Minnesota and then 25 saves on 27 shots on Tuesday night.
The good news for Florida is that the Buffalo Sabres are up next and they've struggled to put shots on net, let alone goals on the scoreboard. Thomas can probably afford to take that night off regardless.