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Scott Clemmensen Strong Behind Tomas Vokoun ... Ellerby Back to Rochester

Clem Coach Pete DeBoer joked after Monday's game that one reason he didn't tell the media that backup goalie Scott Clemmensen was going to start against the Bruins so not to be second guessed.

The way Clemmensen has been playing for the Panthers these days, who would have done that?

Clemmensen has been strong for the Panthers this season when given the chance. Monday's start was Clemmensen's first since he beat the Coyotes in Phoenix. In that game, he stopped 40 of 41 shots and stopped the Coyotes in the shootout. Monday, Clemmensen stopped 40 shots – David Krejci scored twice – in Florida's 3-2 shootout loss to the Bruins. Clemmensen did come off the bench last Wednesday in Pittsburgh and gave up one goal on 19 shots.

“I felt good about the way I played in Phoenix and I tried to carry that over,'' said Clemmensen, who is 2-4-1 this season with a goals-against average of 2.51. Clemmensen has stopped 92 percent of shots faced in nine games.

“I didn't know if I was going to start or not over the next few weeks so I wanted to carry the personal momentum in. I felt good in Pittsburgh as well. You just want to stay in your comfort zone and be ready. I didn't know it would be three weeks between starts, but so be it. I'm happy.''

The Panthers are pretty fortunate to have two strong goalies in Tomas Vokoun and Clemmensen. Only a handful of teams have two goalies with a save percentage of 92 percent of better.

When DeBoer and goalie coach Robb Tallas do give Clemmensen a start, the Panthers go on as usual. On some teams, when the backup goes in, there's a hope just for survival.

“It's great to have two goalies like that,'' defenseman Mike Weaver said. “With some goalies, you have in the back of your mind that you're going to have to block the shot. With him, you're confident he'll make the save. He's a battler, a guy who is on his game in practice and that carries over. In the NHL, you have to step up when given the chance. Guys who rise to the occasion are the ones who will have a long career.''

Clemmensen was told he was going to start the day before Monday's game. DeBoer explained that not only has Clemmensen been good against the Bruins in the past, but by him going Monday, Vokoun has a chance to really get some rest. Vokoun made 45 saves in Florida's 4-3 win at Buffalo on Dec. 23 and since he didn't play Monday, he'll have been off for a full week when he retakes his spot between the pipes Friday against the Canadiens.

“We have a crazy month of January,'' DeBoer said. “We're going to depend on him a lot. Clemmensen deserved a game, he played real well in Pittsburgh when we put him in. He was exceptional in Phoenix.''

-- The Panthers have had seven defensemen on their roster since Bryan Allen was activated on Dec. 15, but they're back to six again. Keaton Ellerby, a healthy scratch the past five games, was sent back to the Panthers AHL affiliate in Rochester, N.Y. Ellerby will meet the Americans in Cleveland for their game against the Lake Erie Monsters.

“He did a good job up here, but this gives him a chance to get in some games,'' DeBoer said.

-- Winger David Booth went hard into the boards late in Monday's game and was noticeably limping as he he left the ice. Booth did come back for his next shift and played two shifts in overtime. He did not skate on Tuesday.

-- All three of Florida's injured wingers (Rostislav Olesz, Cory Stillman and Radek Dvorak) took contact at Tuesday's practice. 

-- David Booth and Shawn Matthias will join broadcasters Steve Goldstein and Billy Lindsay for a question-and-answer session Wednesday night at Duffy's Sports Grill at the Fountains in Plantation. The event runs from 6-7 p.m.





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