Toronto goalie Ilya Samsonov appeared to play his best game of the season in defeating the Kraken 3-1. Seattle had their chances, but didn’t have enough ‘finish’ in the line-up.
The Kraken and Maple Leafs both started the game a bit ornery, with some chippy behavior unfolding in the first four minutes. Brandon “Turbo” Tanev was one of the main catalysts. Out of an early scrum the Kraken picked up a power play but failed to click.
At 7:06 after the Kraken failed to clear the puck twice, Toronto winger Mitch Marner found Auston Matthews alone in front. He went between his legs with a deke move and then beat Joey Daccord with a backhander.
The feisty fun continued when Tanev and Maple Leafs D-man Jake McCabe went off for fighting at 9:12. McCabe took exception to Tanev’s hit on his partner Timothy Liljegren.
With the adrenaline rush the pace picked up, but Seattle took awhile to discover any Grade-A scoring chances against goalie Samsonov.
That changed at 15:07 when the Russian netminder robbed Kraken winger Jaden Schwartz with a phenomenal right pad save. Sarcastic Maple Leafs fans would suggest it was his best save of the season.
The Kraken earned a very late power play but did nothing against the NHL’s 27th ranked penalty kill.
The Kraken appeared sick and tired. After having his early hooking penalty killed off, Seattle D-man Jamie Oleksiak proceeded to come out of the box, coast back into his own zone, and watch Nick Robertson make it 2-0 Toronto. Robertson was unmarked and Oleksiak allowed him to stay that way.
Soon after, Justin Schultz took a holding penalty and Toronto was back on the power play. Again, Seattle killed it off. The next stoppage of play was a TV time-out.
At 14:03 of the period, Jordan Eberle picked up a loose puck behind a wall of humanity in front and tucked it home to put the Kraken on the board.
They’d follow that up with a great shift from Oliver Bjorkstrand who almost found the equalizer. That was followed up by the Maple Leafs putting pressure on in the offensive zone for a minute-and-a-half. The Alexander Wennberg line barely survived it.
The period began with Toronto earning some sustained pressure. Daccord made a big stop on Pontus Holmberg three minutes into the period.
For the next ten minutes the Leafs went into lead protection mode, clogging the neutral zone to the best of their ability and trying to prevent Kraken zone entries.
They were successful into the 2nd TV time-out.
Also into the final break.
Samsonov made a couple of routine saves and then a tough one on a 5-hole attempt from Bjorkstrand.
The Maple Leafs scored an empty netter with 20-seconds remaining.
Shots on goal finished 26-17 in favor of the Maple Leafs. Power plays: Toronto 0-for-2, Seattle 0-for-2.
Kraken 3 Stars:
1) Jordan Eberle – Scored the goal with his lone shot.
2) Tomas Tatar – Created all evening long. An assist and three shots on goal.
3) Brandon Tanev – The most tenacious Kraken. He didn’t finish chances, but he sustained energy. A fight, 2 hits and a shot-on-goal.