SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers seem to enjoy playing in these close games. After all, they got into another one Saturday night against the visiting Seattle Kraken.
It took a odd-bouncing puck landing on the stick of Nick Cousins with 5:58 remaining to help them pull out a 3-2 win over Seattle.
Cousins ended up getting the game-winner as goalie Joey Daccord came out of his net to play a puck; that puck took a wacky bounce off the glass, Cousins pulled it in from the slot and deposited it into the empty net.
Florida ended up going 3-1 on its opening homestand of the season with a trip to Boston coming on Monday.
Gus Forsling and Matthew Tkachuk each scored for the Panthers as Sergei Bobrovsky made 36 saves.
Seattle opened to a 2-0 lead midway through the second as the Panthers did not look too sharp early on.
Jared McCann got things going for the Kraken, breaking into the Florida zone and outpacing Uvis Balinskis as he drove in on Bobrovsky and scored at 7:58 of the first.
In the second, it was Eeli Tolvanen chopping down a high shot from Jaden Schwartz to make it 2-0.
Only the Panthers were not going away.
Florida scored twice within a span of 11 seconds as Forsling fired off a shot from the point to get a power play goal and cut the deficit in half.
Tkachuk followed suit by getting his stick on a fluttering saucer shot from Dmitry Kulikov to tie the score.
Late in the second, it appeared Sam Reinhart scored in his sixth consecutive game — only his goal with 10.4 seconds remaining was pulled off the board.
Seattle challenged for offside and, yeah, Reinhart certainly was.
Reinhart’s five-game streak ends up being third-longest in franchise history, one back of Tkachuk’s six-game run last season and two behind Pavel Bure’s seven-game streak in 2011.
The Panthers now head to Boston for a rematch of the first-round of last year’s playoffs.
GOALS OF THE GAME
- Kraken 1, Panthers 0 (7:58, 1st): Former Florida forward Jared McCann got his second goal of the season by breaking out in front of Josh Mahura and Uvis Balinskis and walked in on Sergei Bobrovsky, scoring on a nice backhanded tuck.
- Kraken 2, Panthers 0 (7:34, 2nd): Eeli Tolvanen batted down a high shot from Jaden Schwartz and knocked in into right field for an RBI single.
- Kraken 2, Panthers 1 (8:53, 2nd PP): The Panthers started the power play with their second unit and saw immediate dividends, Gus Forsling’s point shot blowing through traffic and beating Joey Daccord.
- Panthers 2, Kraken 2 (9:04, 2nd): Florida won the ensuing faceoff, Niko Mikkola got the puck to Dmitry Kulikov who sent a knuckleball toward the net from 55 feet out. Matthew Tkachuk got his stick on it and deflected it past Anton Lundell — and Daccord.
- Panthers 3, Kraken 2 (14:08, 3rd): Nick Cousins pounced on a wayward puck Daccord went out to play along the backwall and popped it into a vacated net to give Florida its first lead of the night.
FHN’S 3 STARS OF THE GAME
1. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida
2. Gus Forsling, Florida
3. Nick Cousins, Florida
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS @ BOSTON BRUINS
- When: Monday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Boston Garden
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida/ESPN+
- Radio: WAXY 790-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932; NHL App
- Last Season — Regular Season: Tied 2-2; Playoffs: Florida won 4-3 (first-round)
- This season: @Boston Monday, April 6; @Florida Nov. 22, March 26
- All-time Regular Season Series: Boston leads 60-37-7, 6 ties
- All-time Postseason Series: Florida leads 2-0 (1996, 2023)
- Up Next for the Panthers: @Detroit; Thursday, 7 p.m.