The Florida Panthers will kick off the second half of their season in a strange place as they visit the Seattle Kraken for the first time.
The Panthers wrapped up the first half of their season with Friday’s 2-1 shootout win in Vancouver — and it would be hard to imagine it going any better.
Florida went into the weekend in sole possession of first place in the NHL and go into the game with Seattle riding a two-game road winning streak.
Seattle, of course, already beat the Panthers once.
Of Florida’s three home losses, the first one came at the hands of the expansion Kraken.
It was hard to believe then and hard to believe now.
Florida is 21-3 at home and one of those losses came to a Seattle squad which has won just four of 13 road games.
Chris Driedger, who left the Panthers as a free agent last summer, played yet another fantastic game in Sunrise back on Nov. 22 as he made 33 saves to beat his former teammates.
Driedger is not expected to face them a second time.
Last Sunday, Driedger went on the Covid list so he could be back but since he probably did not skate much last week, it would be a bit surprising to see him in net Sunday night.
The Panthers are expected to have Sergei Bobrovsky back between the pipes after his 40-save shutout Friday in Edmonton.
Florida has been without Patric Hornqvist and Sam Bennett the past few games due to injury.
Gus Forsling is on Covid protocol and Olli Juolevi remains on injured reserve.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT SEATTLE KRAKEN
- When: Sunday, 9 p.m.
- Where: Climate Pledge Arena; Seattle
- Tickets: CLICK HERE
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM, SiriusXM
- NHL Betting Odds from BetUS: Florida favored (Money Line -250) — (Puck Line -1.5 -105) — Over/Under 6.5 (-105/-115)
- Last season: Did not play
- All-time regular season series: Seattle leads 1-0-0
- This season: Seattle 4, @Florida 1 (Nov. 22)
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 13 Sam Reinhart
11 Jonathan Huberdeau // 15 Anton Lundell // 10 Anthony Duclair
17 Mason Marchment // 19 Joe Thornton // 74 Owen Tippett
94 Ryan Lomberg // 27 Eetu Luostarinen // 98 Maxim Mamin
52 MacKenzie Weegar // 5 Aaron Ekblad
8 Matt Kiersted // 62 Brandon Montour
32 Lucas Carlsson // 7 Radko Gudas
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
30 Spencer Knight
Scratched: Frank Vatrano
Taxi squad: Chase Priskie, Aleksi Heponiemi
Injured: Noel Acciari (LTIR), Markus Nutivaara (LTIR), Olli Juolevi (IR), Patric Hornqvist (d2d), Sam Bennett (d2d)
Covid Protocol: Jonas Johansson, Gus Forsling
PROJECTED SEATTLE KRAKEN LINEUP
19 Calle Jarnkrok // 16 Jaren McCann // 37 Yanni Gourde
90 Marcus Johansson // 21 Alex Wennberg // 7 Jordan Eberle
43 Colin Blackwell // 67 Morgan Geekie // 72 Joonas Donskoi
9 Ryan Donato // 15 Riley Sheahan // 22 Mason Appleton
5 Mark Giordano // 28 Carson Soucy
6 Adam Larsson // 29 Vince Dunn
3 William Borgen // 4 Haydn Fleury
31 Philipp Grubauer
35 Joey Daccord
60 Chris Driedger