As a member of two different expansion teams, Florida Panthers coach Andrew Brunette remembers the feeling of trying to pull an upset when the big dogs came to town.
Sunday night, his Panthers were the team being hunted as they faced the Seattle Kraken in the midst of a first season which has not gone as some had hoped.
For the second time this season, the Kraken did the Panthers in, the struggling expansion team getting a hard-fought 5-3 win over the first-place Panthers in their initial visit to Seattle.
The Kraken beat Florida in the first meeting between the two back on Nov. 22 in Sunrise.
Florida’s attempt to win three consecutive road games for the first time this season was thwarted — and Seattle goalie Philipp Grubauer (28 saves) was a big reason why.
The Panthers are now 2-2 on this five-game road trip which wraps up Tuesday night in Winnipeg.
Sergei Bobrovsky was trying to tie Roberto Luongo’s franchise record for most consecutive points in a row.
With a win, Bobrovsky would have been 9-0-1 tear of which Luongo did during the 2015-16 Atlantic Division championship season.
Florida opened the scoring in the first and took a 1-0 lead into the second off Anthony Duclair’s goal in which Grubauer’s initial save hit defenseman Carson Soucy came right back and in.
There would be a few more wacky puck bounces to come.
In the second, Marcus Johansson tied the score at 5:02 before the Kraken hit big midway through the period.
After Florida killed off a 5-on-3 power play chance, former Lightning forward Yanni Gourde fired off a shot from 50 feet out that got through traffic and beat Bobrovsky.
A mere 17 seconds later, the Kraken made it 3-1 on a shot from Mason Appleton which hit the post, bounced up and hit Colin Blackwell in the helmet and went in.
Florida was now being outscored 7-2 by a Seattle team which has a grand total of 12 wins this season.
Less than two minutes later, Florida got its first power play chance of the night and cashed in on a 40-foot lazer shot from Huberdeau.
The Panthers tied the score on a wacky shot of their own, Sasha Barkov’s shot from the high slot going off of Gourde and over Grubauer’s head, hitting the cross bar and in.
Huberdeau set that one up, giving him a piece of all three Florida goals to that point.
Barkov and Huberdeau remained together on a line with Duclair and almost gave the Panthers the lead early in the third — only it was Appleton coming the other way and scoring 26 seconds in to put Florida back down a goal.
The Panthers continued to come at Grubauer — and emptied the net in the final minutes — but this comeback chance was denied.
Seattle ended Florida’s hopes by scoring into the empty net with 19 seconds remaining.
GR’S THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Philipp Grubauer, Seattle
2. Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida
3. Mason Appleton, Seattle
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT WINNIPEG JETS
- When: Tuesday, 9 p.m.
- Where: Canada Life Center; Winnipeg, MB
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM, SiriusXM
- Last season: Did not play
- All-time regular season series: Winnipeg/Atlanta Thrashers lead 50-29-8, 5 ties