Vince Dunn Seattle Kraken beat Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO — John Tavares wants his Toronto Maple Leafs to focus more on the details.
Vince Dunn scored the eventual winner and added two assists to lead the Seattle Kraken 5-1 past the Maple Leafs after Toronto’s second flat performance in three days. Tavares said the Maple Leafs didn’t respond well to adversity on Thursday.
“Obviously we have to do those details better, especially at certain moments in the game, to keep giving ourselves a chance and to be right there,” said Tavares. “Especially when we did a lot of good things in the first half.”
Toronto defeated Seattle 10-3 in the first half, with Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe noting that just one of those shots posed any real threat to goaltender Matt Murray. He made 21 saves.
The Maple Leafs (23-9-7) also looked in the game during Tuesday’s 6-5 shootout loss to the undermanned St. Louis Blues, which included captain Ryan O’Reilly, star forward Vladimir Tarasenko and stalwart defenseman Torey Krug have injured reserve, discouraged from.
Mitch Marner, who assisted Tavares in scoring his 44th point of the season, had a simple suggestion for Toronto to recover from disappointing losses.
“Just relax. I mean, we’re a great team. We know that,” he said, noting that the Maple Leafs host Detroit on Saturday. “It’s a divisional rival that we last beat in their building, so we must come hungry and push them.”
Jared McCann had a goal and an assist as Seattle (21-12-4) won its third straight win. Eeli Tolvanen opened the scoring on the power play, with Matty Beniers and Alex Wennberg also scoring. Martin Jones stopped 26 shots for the win.
“We shot a lot of pucks from all different angles tonight,” Dunn said. “It’s really important so that the goalkeeper stays honest and we can do a pre-check.”
Tolvanen cabled a slap shot from the point past Murray in the middle of the first, with the puck potentially hitting Toronto defender Mark Giordano.
Nearly four minutes later, Tavares equalized on a power play for the Maple Leafs. Marner sent a pass into the Seattle net where Tavares and Michael Bunting were ahead of Jones. Tavares deflected the pass between his legs and into the net.
Just 14 seconds later, Dunn’s wrist shot handcuffed Murray to give the Kraken another one-goal lead.
“For the most part we were pretty good in the first half but they definitely gave it to us,” said Dunn. “I think we just pushed ourselves a bit.”
A streaky McCann made it 3-1 shortly after by scoring an opener pass from Jaden Schwartz for a clean breakout. He scored with a shot past Murray for his 18th goal of the season.
Beniers piled high as the second third drew to a close, turning sharply with the puck on his stick to whip a shot past Murray.
It took less than three minutes in game three for the Kraken to extend their lead. Wennberg finished his partial breakout with the puck on his backhand and shoved it past Murray.
Like the goals from McCann, Dunn, and Beniers, it was evenly matched and contributed to Seattle’s league-leading 5-on-5 goal tally.
O CANADA! — After the game was over but before the three stars were announced, the 18,624 crowd at Scotiabank Arena erupted in spontaneous cheers as fans checked their phones to see Canada progress to the juniors’ final Men’s World Championship had triumphed over the Czech Republic. Dylan Guenther struck Canada’s overtime winner at Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre.
MARNER ALL-STAR — Marner was named to his third straight All-Star team Thursday night. The 25-year-old Toronto forward from nearby Thornhill, Ontario, is on track for a career season with 44 points (14 goals, 30 assists) in 39 games.
“There are a few things you dream of as a kid: to play in this league, win the Stanley Cup, and get to this All-Star Game, so it’s a cool achievement,” Marner said. “It wouldn’t have happened without a lot of these guys in this room, without everyone in this room.”
SAMMY BREAK — Murray got the start over Ilya Samsonov in the Toronto net after the 25-year-old Russia goaltender scored five goals on 32 shots in the Maple Leafs’ 5-6 loss to St. Louis on Tuesday. Despite conceding an average of 2.38 goals this season, Samsonov has struggled in his last four games, conceding a total of 17 goals in that span with a 2-1-1 record.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 5, 2023.