Marner, Matthews lead Maple Leafs over Kraken


Published March 8, 2022 at 11:33 pm

Auston Matthews registered his third hat trick of the season to give him an NHL-leading 43 goals, Mitch Marner scored the winner and the Toronto Maple Leafs came back to defeat the Seattle Kraken 6-4 on Tuesday night.

William Nylander and John Tavares added a goal and an assist each for Toronto (37-16-4), which got 26 saves from Jack Campbell. T.J. Brodie and Michael Bunting both chipped in with two assists. Marner, who added an assist of his own, has a point that now stands at eight games.

Colin Blackwell, with a goal and an assist, Carson Soucy, Alex Wennberg and Jaden Schwartz replied for Seattle (17-37-5). Philipp Grubauer stopped 25 shots for the expansion Kraken, who fell to 1-9-1 over their last 11.

Seattle scored twice in the second period to tie the game 3-3 before Schwartz tipped his seventh of the season past Campbell at 5:57 of the third as Toronto allowed four goals or more for the eighth time in 10 games.

The Leafs responded at 9:03 when Matthews took a pass from Bunting, who was robbed by Grubauer moments earlier, to score his second of the night and 42nd of the campaign.

Toronto then went on the power play where Marner delayed at the top of the slot after the ensuing Tavares faceoff win and ripped his 22nd five-hole on Grubauer just 40 seconds later to send Scotiabank Arena into a frenzy.

Matthews then finished things off with the sixth hat trick of his career with 41.8 seconds left in regulation with Grubauer on the bench for an extra attacker.

Coming off Monday’s 5-4 road victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and playing their third of four games in six nights, the Leafs opened the scoring at 3:18 of the first when Matthews fired his 41st past Grubauer as Toronto’s top-ranked power play connected for just the second time in 10 games.

The Kraken equalized at 5:21 when Soucy fired his seventh upstairs on Campbell off a broken play in front.

But the Leafs responded at 9:55 when Tavares scored his 19th in all alone on Grubauer off a Brodie stretch pass and a quick feed from Pierre Engvall.

Campbell, who entered with an ugly .865 save percentage in 12 appearances since Jan. 15 after putting up a .935 mark through his first 27 games to earn an all-star nod, made a nice stop in the slot on Blackwell later in the period off a turnover to elicit some of the familiar “Souuuup” chants from fans at Scotiabank Arena.

The home side made it 3-1 on another man advantage at 5:14 of the second when Nylander fired his 22nd through Grubauer’s five-hole against Seattle’s 28th-ranked penalty kill.

The Kraken got back to within one at 9:20 when Wennberg finished a nice give-and-go on a 2-on-1 rush with Marcus Johansson for his seventh.

And the visitors would then even things up just 2:29 later when Nylander turned the puck over at the offensive blue line on a Toronto power play. Seattle raced the other way on a 3-on-1, with Blackwell finishing off a Yanni Gourde pass for his eighth.

The Kraken then nearly went ahead on a man advantage of their own later in the period, but Campbell got enough of Jared McCann’s shot that also deflected off the post.

Notes: Toronto winger Wayne Simmonds was honoured before puck drop for playing in the 1,000th regular-season game of his career Saturday. … Leafs winger Ondrej Kase (upper-body injury) returned to the lineup after missing four straight contests. … McCann signed a five-year, US$25-million contract extension Tuesday. … Seattle head coach Dave Hakstol was a Toronto assistant in both 2019-20 and 2020-21. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2022.


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Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

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