|Goaltender Craig Anderson |
The Panthers prepared to meet the Maple Leafs this evening in Toronto without goalie Tomas Vokoun.
Vokoun, who suffered a mild ankle sprain in Tuesday’s third period victory against Montreal, will be rested this evening and Craig Anderson will get the start. David Shantz was called up from the Panthers’ American Hockey League affiliate in Rochester, N.Y., to backup Anderson.
“I just twisted my ankle a little bit,” said Vokoun, who injured his ankle after stopping a partial breakaway by Montreal’s Christopher Higgins. It’s a mild (right) ankle sprain. It was sore (Wednesday) but better today. I’m hoping to skate (Friday) and play by Saturday.”
Vokoun, who was walking fine and had treatment Thursday morning at the Air Canada Centre during the Panthers morning skate, had stopped 105 of 110 shots in helping the Panthers to a three-game win streak.
Anderson played a strong game Oct. 10 when making his first start of the season, stopping 21 of 23 shots in a 2-1 loss to Tampa. In five games last season with the Panthers, Anderson was 1-1-1 with a 2.21 goals against average.
“I’ll carry the load while Tomas recuperates,” Anderson said.
Said Panther GM and coach Jacques Martin: “Craig has played well for us and gave us a good game last week. I’d have wanted him to play one out of the (next) five games.”
This will be the first time Shantz will be in a Panther uniform during the regular season. The 21-year-old played 23 games last season with the Florida Everblades of the East Coast Hockey League. Shantz was 0-3 in Rochester.
With Noah Welch back in South Florida after suffering a separated shoulder in Tuesday’s win in Montreal, Branislav Mezei will be back in the lineup after sitting out the past three games. Martin said he has a lot of confidence in the young defensemen.
“I thought he had a real good camp, a good start,” Martin said. “He’s a player that needs to bring a physical dimension to our back end and pay attention to detail. He’s a good defenseman. At times last year he was in our top four. Early in the season last year, he played well.”