The Toronto Maple Leafs lost 5-1 to the Seattle Kraken on home ice, Not only was this their worst loss of the season, but it was also the first time the Leafs have been down four goals in a game. This game can be mostly hung on Matt Murray, who allowed five goals on 24 shots. Three quick goals in the second period turned a small slump in play by the skaters into a deflated effort and a throwing in of the towel.
While I’m sure some fans will treat this as a reason for why the Leafs are actually a relegation team, because they never see this happen to other teams, there is concern for the Leafs goaltending at the moment. Murray has given up 14 goals in his last five starts. Ilya Samsonov has given up 17 in his last five.
Neither could take the reins in the early part of the season when both were playing excellently, neither want to take the reins now as they struggle. Lucky for them, the Leafs have a back-to-back this weekend.
This ended a Leafs home point streak at 12 games, a streak they had started during the Mitch Marner point streak (which feels like a long time ago).
Eeli Tolvanen, Vince Dunn, Jared McCann, Matty Beniers, and Alex Wennberg scored for the Kraken. John Tavares scored for the Leafs.
Matthews threw a stretch pass up to Nylander for a 3-on-1 with Rielly and Bunting. Bunting got the first shot, Nylander whipped the rebound on net with a spinning shot. Both were stopped by Jones, but a good intro by the Leafs. Rielly made a smart read to jump into the play as soon as he saw Matthews going back for the puck. He played the centre role well for Auston’s two wingers.
Sandin with some smart passes to keep the Leafs from getting stuck in their own zone. Liljegren also made a deft pass to Engvall, giving him a 2-on-1 with Holmberg. ZAR had a second chance. Giordano off the bench made a good keep in the offensive zone to hem the Kraken in more.
what a sequence, Sandin comes in out of nowhere and holds the line— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 6, 2023
Kerfoot's shot is blocked but he recovers the puck and gets it back to the point pic.twitter.com/1D7QCrl9lX
Marner from Holl found Tavares for a 2-on-1 with Järnkrok. Tavares tried to make the pass across, but Gio was there again to keep the puck in for a second effort.
Tanev skated at full speed at Nylander behind the net, flying sideways into the end boards as Nylander dodged. Big, reckless hit attempt.
Tanev tried to hit Nylander with everything in his soul pic.twitter.com/938q8yejLv— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 6, 2023
Liljegren, Kämpf, and Sandin prevented Beniers and Eberle from getting a shot on Murray with good body positioning and sticks.
Holmberg was in all alone after he beat his check (Schultz), but his redirection from ZAR didn’t get on net.
Holmberg fires a backhand shot off another odd-man rush for the Leafs pic.twitter.com/JeCPMd7cJA— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 6, 2023
Seattle’s first shot came 11 and a half minutes into the game as Murray covered up all the holes against the post on the short side. Leafs got chasing a little bit. Burakovsky tried to stretch the ice as he blew the zone, but Holl deflected his shot at the source with a good stick.
The Kraken tried to make a lot of cross-ice passes to make up for their lack of footspeed against the Leafs, but the Leafs used good sticks to get in the way. One such moment gave Nylander a contested breakaway, which he shovelled the backhand into the pads of Jones.
It took 17 minutes to get our first whistle of the game.
First TV timeout came as Holmberg drew a penalty on Justin Schultz with 1:36 left on the clock. Matthews had a couple chances, including one seeing-eye shot to the far post.
Fast, fast, fast! And I’m not just talking about the Leafs. The period flew by quicker than an OHL game where the ref had a dinner date after. From puck drop to the final horn it wasn’t any more than 30 minutes, and considering the Leafs took 19 shots, it felt that much faster.
Rielly got a light cross-checking penalty and the Kraken struck first on the power play. Credit to them, they played better at the start of the second. Eeli Tolvanen with his third point in his third game with the Kraken after getting waived by Nashville. The shot went off Gio.
Eeli Tolvanen scores— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 6, 2023
The shot goes off Giordano's leg pic.twitter.com/OeHcnWefvU
Gourde put his stick in the eye of Sandin away from the play. Sandin was in a lot of pain as the referees reviewed whether it was a two- or four-minute penalty. It was four-minutes.
And in those four minutes, the Leafs made the most of it, John Tavares getting the tip in front to tie the game. Marner had the shot from the point and Jones didn’t get his pads on the ice in time to stop the puck from going through the five-hole.
14 seconds later, Murray drifted out of his net and Dunn got the goal. The puck deflected, but probably off Murray’s glove.
Holl stopped Wennberg from getting a shot on a breakaway with some good feet and bodying him off his shooting lane. But then back tracking in the offensive zone as Kampf left his post at the point when Gio wasn’t back in time and gave McCann a clean breakaway, which he didn’t miss.
Not a great look when the other team has more players going back into your zone throughout the period.
And Murray gives up another flubber. Small in his net, not square, off his game.
four goals on 12 shots in one period doesn’t exactly keep a team in a game, eh Matty?
The third was a tire fire from the start. Giveaways. Overskating pucks. And it was everyone, from Matthews to ZAR.
Soucy had a puck run up his face. He fell to the ice and needed some attention before he got back to the bench.
Oh, and the game ended.
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Switched to the WJC game midway through