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Markstrom starts Panthers’ home opener

Oct 11, 2013, 7:14 PM EDT

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jacobmarkstromgetty Getty Images

The Florida Panthers will probably have plenty of people in the building for their home opener Friday because they’re playing the Pittsburgh Penguins. The bad news for Jonathan Markstrom: they’re playing the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The big Swede is starting tonight in part because Tim Thomas (groin) is still not ready to go, according to the Miami Herald’s George Richards.

The Panthers still hold out a lot of hope for Markstrom, 23, to become the team’s goalie of the future.

His start in the NHL has been bumpy (10-20-0 with a middling .903 save percentage in 34 GP), although the team in front of him has often been cratering.

Pittsburgh isn’t likely to make life easy for a team coming off of a humilating 7-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, but this would be the kind of night where Markstrom could start to back up that hype.

If nothing else, maybe he can avoid being pulled?

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