SUNRISE, Fla — Saturday night could have been another chapter in the story of the Kraken’s alleged revenge tour across the league.
Goalie Chris Driedger was making his return after the Panthers left him exposed in expansion. It was also Alex Wennberg’s first game back since he left in free agency. Jared McCann is three teams removed, and Riley Sheahan one, but all four were familiar with FLA Live Arena.
They handed their former team their first and only home loss of the season, on a night where the Panthers could have made history with the longest win streak at home to start the season.
The Kraken spoiled that, giving the Panthers their first tally in the L column with a 4-1 win on Saturday night. After a loss to Tampa Bay the night before, the Kraken end a stretch with four of the league’s best teams — Washington, Carolina, Tampa, and Florida — at 3-1-0.
The Panthers controlled possession most of the way, the opposite of many games the Kraken (7-13-1) have played, and lost. This time, the difference was the goalie, and actually in Seattle’s favor.
The last time Driedger played he was pulled in the second period against Colorado after struggling mightily against the Avalanche. He more than redeemed that performance against his old squad with 32 saves.
Driedger played two seasons with the Panthers, where he had a .931 save percentage and a 21-8-4 record over 35 games. He was left exposed since the Panthers have Sergei Bobrovsky signed long-term, and former top prospect Spencer Knight has been waiting in the wings.
On Saturday, he frustrated Florida, but he also got some help early.
In the 800th game of Jordan Eberle’s career, he did something no one on the Kraken had done in eight games — score first.
In the last gasp of a power play, Joonas Donskoi found Eberle alone and he beat Knight to give the Kraken their first 1-0 lead since they went up early in Arizona way back on Nov. 6.