For Theodore, who's mired in one of the worst slumps of his 17-year career, there was no other option.
"You can't look too far ahead, you can't look at your stats, you got to take the next game and be the best you can be,'' said Theodore, who's 4-6-3 with a 3.30 goals-against average, the worst GAA among the 26 goaltenders who have faced 390 shots or more.
"When you work hard, you can find a way out of your slump, or these inconsistencies.''
Last year, the veteran tandem of Theodore and Scott Clemmensen were the model of consistency and the backbone of the Panthers' first playoff berth in 12 years. They were 12th defensively, at 2.63 goals allowed per game, but this year they're dead last at 3.60.
"That's easy, we're last in goals against,'' Theodore said when asked to evaluate his season. "If the [team] doesn't get the saves from me, it's not going to work out. It starts with me back there in the net.''
Because of a condensed, 48-game season, coach Kevin Dineen's leash is much shorter than usual, and Theodore, 36, has started just once in the past five games.
Dineen's other option, Clemmensen, is coming off an ugly outing in which he gave up three goals on 10 shots in the first period of a 4-3 shootout loss to Buffalo on Thursday before being yanked for Theodore, who played well in relief (all 15 saves).
Clemmensen is carrying a career-worst 3.98 GAA, which is last among goalies with five or more starts.
Dineen has left the door wide open for another callup for young Jacob Markstrom, who in successive starts last week allowed six goals on 71 shots in losses to Pittsburgh and Boston.
"Every day he's an option I consider,'' Dineen said.