SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Matthew Tkachuk snapped the longest start-of-season goal scoring drought of his career, Nick Cousins scored the go-ahead goal with 5:52 left and the Florida Panthers beat the Seattle Kraken 3-2 on Saturday night.
Gustav Forsling also scored for the Panthers. Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves for Florida (4-3-0), which has now won 13 games in which it trailed by at least two goals since the start of the 2021-22 season.
Jared McCann and Eeli Tolvanen scored for the Kraken. Joey Daccord made 35 saves for Seattle (2-5-2).
“I think we got a little harder on the puck,” Forsling said of Florida’s second-period surge. “We got it out when we needed to and we got a couple of lucky bounces. But I think we deserved it.”
McCann put the Kraken ahead with a breakaway goal 7:58 into the first period. Tolvanen added to the lead by deflecting Jaden Schwartz’s shot past Bobrovsky 7:34 into the second.
And then, it was time for Florida to do what it has so often in recent seasons — start a comeback.
Forsling, Tkachuk and Cousins were all goalless on the season entering Saturday, and picked the right night to change that for Florida. Forsling and Tkachuk got their goals 11 seconds apart to tie the game; Forsling’s goal was on the power play, barely a minute after Schwartz gave Seattle the 2-0 lead.
Tkachuk — coming off a 40-goal season a year ago — needed until the seventh game of this season to get goal No. 1. He’d never needed more than four games to score his first goal in any of his previous seven NHL seasons.
“He understands his game,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “He is point-per-game with assists, which isn’t his normal rate, but he knew it was coming.”
Cousins got the game winner into a wide-open net after Daccord was caught off-guard by a bounce off the boards.
“It was on me. I should’ve stayed in the net,” Daccord said. “Late in the game, tie game, the stanchions here are pretty bouncy and it was an unfortunate bounce, but I should have just stayed in the net and at least given myself a chance to make a save there. I feel like I let the team down tonight.”
The Panthers got more good news Saturday than just the win. Maurice said injured defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour — who haven’t played since last season’s run to the Stanley Cup Final following shoulder surgeries — will join the team for practice on Sunday. Their return timeline has been moved up from mid-December to late November.
Kraken: Visit Tampa Bay on Monday.
Panthers: Visit Boston on Monday.
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