The Panthers lost veteran goalie Tim Thomas to what is called a slight groin strain in the opening period of Tuesday night’s game.
The goal Thomas let in after not being able to pull himself off the ice in time proved to be the difference as Philadelphia ended its three game losing streak by beating the Panthers 2-1 at Wells Fargo Center.
Thomas, who could be out at a few weeks, gave up both goals Tuesday night off odd shots. The second fluky goal came when Thomas went down to make a save on a shot by Sean Couturier and got hurt in the process.
Thomas was slow to get up as Braydon Coburn fired a long shot from 50 feet into the net as Thomas fell in vain for it. Thomas then skated off to the locker room and didn’t return.
“I don’t think it’s anything long term, but we’ll evaluate him [Wednesday] and see where he’s at,” coach Kevin Dineen said.
The Flyers’ opening score came 4:49 into the game when Jakub Voracek’s long shot bounded off the back board and ricocheted off the skate of Brayden Schenn as he charged through the slot. That puck found its way between the legs of Thomas.
The loss was Thomas’ first in Philadelphia as he had been 8-0 here during his career before Tuesday’s abbreviated start. The Flyers avoided their first 0-4 start in franchise history as they won in coach Craig Berube’s debut after Peter Laviolette was canned Monday morning.
The Panthers will have Scott Clemmensen meet the team in Tampa, possibly in time for Wednesday’s late-afternoon practice. Clemmensen gave up one goal off 25 shots in earning the win for Florida’s AHL affiliate in San Antonio on Saturday.
Clemmensen had minor knee surgery in September, and said he was using his rehab assignment as his own training camp.
“We’re in a good situation with good goalies competing for jobs,” goalie coach Robb Tallas said. “They are all pushing each other and that’s a good thing. Clemmensen felt really good after his game. He’s ready.”
Jacob Markstrom appears to be Florida’s starter with Thomas on the shelf as he did everything he could to keep the Panthers in Tuesday’s game.
Markstrom stopped all 25 shots he faced as the Panthers’ only goal came with six seconds remaining in the second when Brad Boyes followed up Brian Campbell’s shot to beat goalie Steve Mason.
“I felt good, it’s just too bad we couldn’t get a few more goals in there,” said Markstrom, who took over the Panthers’ starting job last year when Jose Theodore was injured. “I felt good, the body feels good. I want to play, want to be out there in the heat. I’ll do whatever coach tells me, but I want to play games.”
Mason ended with 33 saves as he kept the Panthers at bay throughout. Tuesday’s game was one the Panthers should have won had they found a way to solve Mason more than just once.
Florida created numerous scoring chances but were stoned by Mason time after time. Some of the Panthers’ best shots at Mason came when Aleksander Barkov was rejected on a first-period power play and when Shawn Matthias was turned back on a short-handed breakaway in the second.
“We’re not displeased with the way we played but we didn’t win the game,” Dineen said. “We need to turn those momentum pushes into some offense, into some points.”
The Panthers power play looked better than it had all season yet Florida still went 0-for-5 with the advantage and haven’t scored in 16 such situations this season.
Florida’s penalty kill was put to work in the third after Erik Gudbranson boarded Scott Hartnell and was ejected. The Flyers didn’t score on their five-minute chance in the third nor on any of their five power-play chances.
The Panthers have lost two in a row since winning their season opener 4-2 at Dallas last Thursday. Florida has been outscored 9-1 in those two losses.
“This is a tough game to swallow,” Tomas Kopecky said. “You can’t look around and blame others. I have to blame myself. I had some good chances and I have to score those goals. I have to help out, have to be better.”• Kopecky said he wasn’t told why he received a two minutes penalty after he got jumped from behind by Philadelphia’s Jay Rosehill. He does, however, have a good idea why Rosehill was so mad that he spun around from the penalty box and skated across the ice to get at Kopecky.
“He tried to steal my stick,” Kopecky said of Rosehill. “So I told him I would autograph it for him afterward.”