The Toronto Maple Leafs will be coming at the Seattle Kraken from a lot of different angles on Thursday night. They feature a collection of elite play makers and goal scorers. Auston Matthews is a perennial top goal scorer in the NHL, only to find himself ‘slumping’ this season with just 19, three behind team leader William Nylander who has 22.
Nylander has 45 points, Matthews 44, while Mitch Marner, he of a 23-game point streak earlier this season, sits just behind them with 43.
The last time the two teams met back on March 8th in Toronto, the Maple Leafs won 6-4 with Matthews picking up a hat trick.
Of course this is much different, much improved Kraken hockey club, one with ten more wins now compared to the same point last season.
Despite touting Toronto’s skill, Seattle actually scores more goals per game than the Leafs, ranked 5th in the NHL (3.50) to Toronto’s 7th (3.42).
It’s keeping the puck out of their own net where Toronto truly excels, in large part to goalies Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray and their respective 2.38 and 2.44 goals against averages. Their save percentages are at .914 and .920.
Speaking of Streaks
Kraken defenseman Adam Larsson has set a personal record and tied a Kraken club record with his current seven-game point streak, the third longest active streak in the NHL.
Seattle forward Jordan Eberle previously pulled it off from November 4th to November 19th, 2021.
Meanwhile, Kraken PR points out that Maple Leafs 3rd-line winger Pierre Engvall presently owns a six-game point streak, a career best.
It looks like it’ll be two teams that get reliable depth scoring pitted against one another.
Newcomer Eeli Tolvanen, picked up by the Kraken off waivers from the Nashville Predators in mid-December, finally popped into the Seattle line-up against the New York Islanders on New Year’s Day and scored his first goal with his new club in a 4-1 victory. In his second game, Tuesday’s 5-2 comeback win in Edmonton against the Oilers, he tallied an assist.
Known for his shot and not his physicality, Tolvanen has drawn the praise of Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol for both.
“He’s been a good solid two way player,” Hakstol said postgame Tuesday. “There’s good strengths to his game. Everybody talks about his ability to shoot the puck, but he’s shown us that he can play on the wall. He can understand the play that’s around, he’s willing to play defense … he recognizes that stuff right away. So, I see really good hockey sense.”
Puck drop on Thursday should be a little after 4 pm pacific.
Enjoy the Hockey Action !!