Seattle Kraken, Vince Dunn

Kraken 5, Maple Leafs 1 – Pure Determination

Seattle Kraken 5, Toronto Maple Leafs 1, with Kraken goalie Martin Jones getting the win and Matt Murray of the Maple Leafs taking the loss.

With their high profile offensive talent, it’s easy to forget the Toronto Maple Leafs entered the game featuring the fourth best goals-against-per-game statistic in the National Hockey League, having given up just 2.61 per.

They had sticks in lanes and blocked a few Kraken shot opportunities as it took Seattle eleven-and-a-half minutes to get their first shot on goal in the 1st period.

They ended up with three to the Maple Leafs nine in the first twenty minutes.

Oddly enough, Seattle actually had three good scoring chances in the first period, but only one of them involved a shot on goal. That was Daniel Sprong cutting to the net through the right wing circle.

They also had a good chance earlier from Matty Beniers in front but he decided to pass the puck aside instead of firing it from point blank range. The other close chance was a tip wide by Morgan Geekie on a slap shot from the right point.

The Kraken and goalie Jones did a nice job of keeping the Leafs off the board, including 1-for-1 on a penalty kill that briefly carried over into the second period.

2nd Period

The Seattle penalty kill stood out. More aggressive, it killed off the first three of four Toronto power plays. A John Tavares goal came on the 2nd half of a double-minor to Yanni Gourde for high sticking midway through the period. That Leafs goal actually tied the game at one.

Fourteen seconds later, the Kraken retook the lead.

Kraken Goal Scorers

1-0 Kraken – Power Play – Eeli Tolvanen (4) from Vince Dunn and Jared McCann, 7:02

Tolvanen ripped a shot from the RW circle that caromed just enough off D-man Mark Giordano to zip past goalie Murray.

2-1 Kraken – Even Strength – Vince Dunn (5) Unassisted, 11:08

Off a failed Leafs clear at the left point, Dunn kept the puck in, took a few strides and fired a wrister off Murray and in.

3-1 Kraken – Even Strength – Jared McCann (18) from Jaden Schwartz and Vince Dunn, 13:50

McCann raced in alone and smoked a shot top shelf, glove side after a nice feed from Schultz on the left wing boards.

4-1 Kraken – Even Strength – Matty Beniers (13) from Andre Burakovsky and Jordan Eberle, 17:25

With his back to the net, Beniers picked up the puck, spun around and fired it past Murray from the left wing circle.

3rd Period

5-1 Kraken – Even Strength – Alexander Wennberg (8) from Yanni Gourde and Brandon Tanev, 2:57

A beautifully executed 2-on-1 with Gourde saucering a pass to Wennberg in front of the net.

The Maple Leafs outshot Seattle 27-26. The Toronto power play went 1-for-5, Seattle’s 1-for-2.

Matty Beniers was announced as a Pacific Division NHL All-Star. The game is February 4th in Florida.

Seattle defenseman Carson Soucy took a puck to the mouth and left the game with 8:00 remaining in the 3rd period.

Kraken 3 Stars:

1) Vince Dunn – A goal, the eventual game winner, and two assists for the defenseman.

2) Jared McCann – A goal and an assist. His goal gave the Kraken some breathing room.

3) Yanni Gourde – Bound and determined. Just the one assist, but drew a penalty that led to the Kraken’s PP goal.

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.