Kraken explode for four second-period goals to beat Leafs

Kraken explode for four second-period goals to beat Leafs

Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe doesn’t feel his team has a goalkeeping problem despite conceding 10 goals in back-to-back losses this week.

Matt Murray was in goal Thursday night as the Leafs put on a soft save in the second half of a 5-1 loss to the hard-working Seattle Kraken.

Murray’s performance wasn’t bad – the first goal came from a deflected goal off Mark Giordano’s shin guards – but he didn’t have the saves he needed as Seattle took control of the game with a four-goal second half.

“We had to make a big save, but if you look at their first goal, it comes in off a shin pad and then there was the breakaway (goal by ex-Leaf Jared McCann),” Keefe said. “I thought we had the best first half of the season but we didn’t score and didn’t control the game. If you (the octopus) are, say it’s 0-0 after a period and all is well.

“The breakaway goal is a big mistake. The game is 2-1 … you can’t make that mistake.”

Murray has given up 10 goals in his last three starts, while Ilya Samsonov has conceded 17 in his last four starts. The Leafs are last in the NHL in save percentage since Dec. 15 (.852).

Keefe, however, refused to blame Murray on Thursday as his team faltered defensively after a goalless first period. Keefe considered pulling Murray after five goals went past him, but the coach also felt Murray deserved the net for the whole game.

“Yeah, I was thinking about mixing it up,” Keefe said. “But Matt played really well for us and he deserved the opportunity to stay there for us.”

Murray conceded he could have been sharper in the second half

Seattle won for the 11th time in 17 away games this season, managing to outstrip and surpass the Leafs despite just three shots in the first period, the lowest total in a period of the season.

The Leafs are recovering from back-to-back home losses. They have Friday off before playing back-to-back games against Detroit and Philadelphia this weekend.

Lost in the expansion

McCann’s goal was his team-leading 18th place finish and it was certainly a rematch goal.

Toronto acquired McCann from Pittsburgh in July 2021 but left him exposed in Seattle’s expansion draft. The Kraken challenged McCann, allowing Toronto to keep Alex Kerfoot, and McCann scored 27 goals for Seattle last year and was handed a five-year, $25 million contract.

First among the newcomers

Seattle rookie Matty Beniers scored his club’s fourth goal and now has 13 this season. Beniers leads all NHL rookies with 28 points in 37 games.

You said so

Mitch Marner on his All-Star Game selection: “It’s cool…some of the things you dreamed of doing as a kid: playing in this league, winning the trophy and playing in this All-Star Game . Without my teammates, I wouldn’t have made it all.”



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