It may have taken almost the entire season, but the Florida Panthers finally got a quality start from veteran goaltender Scott Clemmensen. After struggling to a 2-6-2 record this season, Clemmensen came up big for the Panthers on Sunday, turning aside 40 shots and leading the team past the Ottawa Senators. With the way this season has gone, few expected this kind of performance from Clemmensen, and fewer still would have expected to see him outplay Senators’ goaltender Craig Anderson. In his first start since late February, Anderson was tested little but gave up two goals on 17 shots.
Heading into Sunday, Clemmensen had only recorded a complete-game win once this season, a Feb. 21 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. He also got credit for a Feb. 26 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins after allowing no goals in one period as he relieved Jose Theodore. In his six starts between wins, he was 0-5-1, which led the Panthers to lean heavily on top prospect Jacob Markstrom instead. With Theodore sidelined due to injury, Markstrom has seen most of the starts in recent weeks and even put together a three-game winning streak before the Panthers suffered a 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals on Saturday night.
The win over the Senators marked the third time in five games that a shaky Panthers defense has allowed 40 or more shots on goal. Surprisingly enough, all three of those games have ended up being wins for the Panthers, as their goalies have turned in some of their best starts of the season long after their team has been eliminated from playoff contention.