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Game 7 decision: Jose Theodore expected back in net for Florida Panthers

Florida Panthers goalie Jose Theodore watches an incoming shot on goal from the Edmonton Oilers during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Sunrise, Fla., Friday, March 23, 2012. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

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Florida Panthers goalie Jose Theodore watches an incoming shot on goal from the Edmonton Oilers during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Sunrise, Fla., Friday, March 23, 2012. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

SUNRISE, Fla. - Jose Theodore is expected be the Florida Panthers' starting goalie against New Jersey in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference first-round series on Thursday night.

Panthers coach Kevin Dineen made the announcement after Florida's morning skate, saying Theodore "deserves the start if he can go."

Theodore missed Game 6 on Tuesday with an unspecified injury, after shutting out the Devils in Game 5. Theodore was able to go through an on-ice workout Wednesday, saying afterward that his condition was improving.

Theodore is 2-1 with a 2.60 goals-against average so far in the series against the Devils, stopping 92 per cent the shots he's faced.

It's only the second Game 7 in Panthers history. Florida won at Pittsburgh to wrap up the 1996 East finals.

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