Former Panthers goaltender Chris Driedger made 33 saves against his former team, getting the win over his replacement Spencer Knight, who stopped 23 of 26 shots faced.
Shortly after Driedger stopped Jonathan Hubderdeau on a shorthanded breakaway, Eberle was left all alone to open the scoring with a power-play goal 2:22 into the tilt. He slammed a one-timer from close range by Knight after Joonas Donskoi, originally a Florida draft pick, worked through the Panthers defense and sent a crossing pass over. The second assist on Eberle’s tenth went to Vince Dunn.
The Panthers tied the score 4:37 later when Frank Vatrano handed off to Joe Thornton, who dropped the puck back to MacKenzie Weegar at the point. Weegar sent a shot towards goal and Patric Hornqvist was able to tip it past Driedger for the Cats only goal of the night.
Seattle got a little puck luck to retake the lead at the 10:40 mark. Donskoi was set up in the right circle for one-timer, but he fanned on the shot after Carson Soucy passed out from below the goal line. The puck went back to defenseman Jamie Oleksiak and he let go of a little slapper that Ryan Donato deflected home.
The score remained the same until the 5:57 mark of the third. Radko Gudas gagged the puck up to Yanni Gourde, who was denied by Knight. Unfortunately the rebound came right to Eberle and he backhanded it into the net for the big insurance goal.
Oleksiak would tack on an empty-netter from Soucy to complete the scoring with 3:25 left in regulation, snuffing out any hope of a late Cats rally.
A disappointing result for Panthers in their first-ever meeting with the league’s newest club. They out-shot the Kraken 34-27 and out-hit them 39-24, but couldn’t generate anything beyond Hornqvist’s tally. The one-goal effort was a season-low. Seattle blocked 22 shots and dominated in the face-off dot and got the game’s only special teams goal, going 1 for 2, and killed off the only Florida power play to end a seven-game losing streak on the road. After winning four in a row, the Panthers have dropped two straight. The Cats get a chance to avenge Friday loss to Washington when they host Capitals on Tuesday night.
Tentacles & Suckers
- Dating to back last season, the Panthers had won their previous 15 regular-season home games. Their last loss in Sunrise was 4-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes on April 22.
- It had to be satisfying for First Star of the game Chris Driedger, who was selected by Seattle in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft on July 21, to get his first win of the season against his old mates.
- With his assist, Joe Thornton passed Paul Coffey for sole possession of 13th place on the NHL scoring list with 1,352 points.
- Jordan Eberle’s brace came in his 800th career-game. Eberle, who leads Seattle in goals (11) and points (16), registered three shots on goal, a hit and a block.
- MacKenzie Weegar played a game-high 25:22 while his partner Aaron Ekblad led the Panthers with five shots on goal.
- For more the first meeting between Cats and Kraken enter Davy Jones Locker Room.
Video Recap (courtesy of NHL.com)