The Florida Panthers will have to settle for tying the NHL record for consecutive home wins to start a season.
The NHL’s newest team foiled the Panthers’ chance to own the record outright.
The Seattle Kraken, playing its first season in the NHL, handed the Panthers their first defeat at FLA Live Arena this season, 4-1 on Saturday.
The streak-ending loss comes on a night when the Panthers had a 34-27 edge in shots on goal and had another 22 shot attempts blocked.
A dominant second period — one in which Florida had a 13-7 edge in scoring chances while playing from behind — also came up empty.
“We just weren’t clean,” interim coach Andrew Brunette said. “It wasn’t a lack of effort. We just weren’t sharp, and there’s gonna be nights like that. It’s unfortunate it comes at home and in a time that you could have done something pretty cool, but it’s hockey.”
Jordan Eberle scored twice and Ryan Donato added a first-period goal of his own for the Kraken (7-13-1), which entered Saturday last in the Pacific Division but has now won three of its last four games against the Washington Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes and Panthers — only losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in that stretch.
Former Florida goaltender Chris Driedger stopped 33 of 34 shots he faced. It was by far Dreidger’s best game of the year after posting a .791 save percentage and 4.78 goals allowed average in his first three games of the season as Seattle’s backup.
But Florida knew not to underestimate Dreidger. After all, he had a .931 save percentage and 2.07 goals against average in 35 games for the Panthers over the last two seasons.
“We’ve seen it before and he’s made some big saves,” Brunette said, “but we really didn’t get enough puck traffic or traffic on the inside. I think we made a little bit easier on him, but he made some great saves. He played great for us last year, so it’s not surprising.”
Patric Hornqvist scored the Panthers’ only goal against Dreidger, tying the game with 13:01 left in the first period when he deflected a long shot from MacKenzie Weegar into the net. Donato scored the go-ahead goal less than four minutes later and Seattle never trailed after that.
Eberle added an insurance goal for Seattle early in the third period and Jamie Oleksiak ended any chance of a Panthers comeback with an empty-net goal with 3:25 left in regulation.
Spencer Knight allowed three goals on 26 shots against.
Florida is now 14-4-3 on the season and 11-1-0 at home.
Florida’s 11 consecutive wins at home to start the season tied the NHL mark set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks.
Among those 11 wins:
▪ Four were played without star center and team captain Aleksander Barkov, who was a late scratch from Florida’s 5-2 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Nov. 6 and has missed the last four home games (and five games overall) with an apparent left knee injury after taking an illegal hit early in the second period of Florida’s 6-1 rout of the New York Islanders on Nov. 16.
▪ The final six came after Joel Quenneville handed in his resignation over his role in the Chicago Blackhawks’ cover-up of the Kyle Beach sexual assault allegation in 2010. Brunette has handled head coaching duties since then.
▪ Four have been one-goal games, including three won in overtime.
“Now,” veteran center Joe Thornton said, “we’ve just got to start another streak.”