Wed, 10 Aug 2022

Panthers looking to make NHL history vs. Kraken

Field Level Media
27 Nov 2021, 18:19 GMT+10

The Florida Panthers will seek to break the NHL's all-time record for a season-opening home winning streak when they play host to the expansion Seattle Kraken on Saturday night.

Florida has started this season with 11 straight home wins, matching the 1963-1964 Chicago Blackhawks.

"It's going to be special," Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau said. "We have a chance to make history."

To get the record, the Panthers need to beat the first-year Kraken, who are much improved as of the past week.

Since snapping a season-long six-game losing streak, the Kraken are 2-1-0.

"We believe we're a good hockey team," Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said.

However, the Kraken haven't won a road game since beating the Nashville Predators 4-3 in the second contest in franchise history, way back on Oct. 14. They are 1-7-1 on the road overall.

Seattle entered Saturday having allowed the third-most goals in the NHL, and now they are set to face a Panthers offense that is first in the league in goals scored.

The Panthers, though, will likely come in with a bit of anger following Friday's 4-3 loss at the Washington Capitals.

"It's a great opportunity for us," Florida's Sam Reinhart said. "No one wants to have a tough night and then wait four or five days in between games."

It's possible the Kraken could start goalie Chris Driedger, who played exceptionally well for the Panthers last season, going 14-6-3 with a 2.07 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage.

However, Driedger has struggled playing behind a young Kraken defense, going 0-2-0 with a bloated 4.78 GAA and a .791 save percentage.

Starting goalie Philipp Grubauer, who celebrated his 30th birthday on Thanksgiving, was Seattle's biggest free-agent signee this past summer, getting a six-year contract worth $35.4 million.

He has battled this season, going 6-9-1.

Grubauer was a Vezina Trophy finalist last season and finished second in the league in GAA (1.95) among goalies with at least 15 games played. Driedger finished fifth in GAA.

Grubauer said Seattle's recent mini-hot streak has a lot to do with the defense in front of him. For example, the Kraken blocked 20 shots in a 2-1 win over Carolina on Wednesday.

"I think the first few games we blocked just three shots," Grubauer said. "It makes a difference when everyone is committed to defense."

Offensively, the Kraken lack firepower as evidenced by their 1-10-0 record when trailing after just one period. Jaden Schwartz leads the team with 12 assists and 16 points. He was their biggest non-goalie free-agent signee, getting a five-year deal worth $27.5 million.

The Kraken also have Jordan Eberle, who came over from the New York Islanders and is a proven goal-scorer. He leads Seattle in goals with nine and ranks second in points (14).

Two more Seattle players worth mentioning are former Panthers Alexander Wennberg (two goals, nine assists) and Jared McCann (eight goals, four assists). McCann also leads Seattle with five power-play goals.

"We've got guys here who want to win," McCann said. "We just have to bring it every game."

--Field Level Media

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