SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers shot at setting an NHL record which had stood for almost 60 years was foiled Saturday night by a Seattle Kraken team which played its first official game less than 60 days ago.
Thanks in very large part to former Panthers goalie Chris Driedger, the Kraken spoiled Florida’s perfect home record this season as it left town with a 4-1 win.
Florida’s 11-0 home start will remain tied with the 1963 Chicago Blackhawks as the best in NHL history. Any hope the Panthers had to take the record for themselves were dashed by Driedger and the Kraken.
Driedger, a free agent who was selected by Seattle in the expansion draft, was only appearing in his fourth game this season.
He certainly made it count as he handed his old mates their second consecutive regulation loss and first at home since April 22 against Carolina.
Florida had won 15 consecutive regular season games — a streak started by Driedger as he backstopped the Panthers to a 4-3 overtime win against the Hurricanes on April 24.
Seattle, which lost in Tampa on Friday night, got an early power play chance when Gus Forsling went in for hooking a mere 15 seconds into the game.
Jonathan Huberdeau had the early scoring chance, however, breaking away on a loose puck and driving in on his old teammate.
Driedger has seen Huberdeau’s backhanded shot before and stopped it.
Moments later, Joonas Donskoi fed Jordan Eberle on a 2-on-1 and gave the Kraken a lead.
Florida tied the score at 6:59 of the period, Patric Hornqvist deflecting MacKenzie Weegar’s shot.
But, Seattle retook the lead on a rebound goal from Ryan Donato after Jamie Oleksiak’s shot rang off Knight’s pad.
Florida attempted to take control of the game in the second period, outshooting the Kraken 13-7 and putting on a possession clinic.
Thanks to Driedger, the Kraken held tight and went into the third holding the one-goal advantage.
Eberle got his second goal of the night at 5:57 of the third and Driedger did the rest.
The Panthers’ four-game homestand continues Tuesday night against Washington — a team which beat Florida 4-3 on Friday night.
Oleksiak ended Florida’s hopes of winning with an empty net goal with 3:25 left.
GR’S THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Chris Driedger, Seattle
2. Jordan Eberle, Seattle
3. Joonas Donskoi, Seattle