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 percent 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.