CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. — The Florida Panthers will have to make due without starter Tim Thomas again.
Coach Kevin Dineen announced the team placed Thomas on injured reserve Wednesday with a lower-body injury.
The netminder is ineligible to play Friday against the Buffalo Sabres and Sunday versus the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“We’re confident he’s not going to be long-term,” Dineen said. “He’s a quick healer.”
Thomas, who returned from a groin injury on Oct. 17, suffered the new injury during Florida’s 3-2 shootout loss to Chicago on Tuesday.
Dineen indicated Thomas’ current injury is not the same as the one suffered earlier this season.
At the 16:55 mark of the third period, Thomas stopped a slap shot from Blackhawks winger Andrew Shaw. The goalie remained hunched over in the crease before slowly returning to his feet.
Dineen was unaware of Thomas’ situation until approached by referee Kevin Pollock.
Even Thomas’ teammates said they were unaware of his discomfort.
“I didn’t even notice he was hurt until he was at the bench,” said defenseman Erik Gudbranson, who was on the ice when Thomas faced Shaw’s shot.
At the Panthers bench, Thomas flexed his right leg a couple times, then headed back to the locker room under his own power.
“It’s really disappointing,” Gudbranson said. “He came back from that injury once and has a new injury to battle now. He’s a professional, a veteran in this league. He’ll be back and he’ll be back strong.”
The 39-year-old Thomas injured his groin in the first period of Florida’s 2-1 loss to Philadelphia on Oct. 8. He missed four games.
Thomas is 2-3 with a 3.11 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage in six appearances for the Panthers. He has limited opponents to two or fewer goals in four of those contests.
Florida recalled veteran Scott Clemmensen from San Antonio, the franchise’s American Hockey League affiliate, to serve as the team’s backup.
Jacob Markstrom will take over starting duties for the Panthers.
“[Thomas] played well against Boston. He played fabulous against Minnesota. We had a really good game going against Chicago,” Dineen said. “Unfortunate, but the short-term situation is we’ll give [Clemmensen] a call and get him here. Goaltending depth is playing a factor in our season already.”