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Jan 21, 2024 11:50 pm

Leafs close trip with win, hand Kraken 4th straight loss

Auston Matthews scored his NHL-leading 38th goal of the season as the Toronto Maple Leafs wrapped up a four-game Western trip with a 3-1 victory against the Seattle Kraken on Sunday night.

Nicholas Robertson and Jake McCabe also tallied for Toronto, which won for just the second time in its past seven games (2-4-1). Much-maligned goaltender Ilya Samsonov made 16 saves to earn his first victory in six appearances since Dec. 9.

Jordan Eberle scored for Seattle, which suffered its fourth straight loss following franchise-record streaks of nine consecutive wins and points in 13 games in a row (11-0-2). Joey Daccord stopped 23 of 25 shots.

Matthews opened the scoring at 7:06 of the first period. Mitch Marner dug the puck out of the left-wing corner and enticed rookie Kraken defenseman Ryker Evans out of position before shoveling a pass to a wide-open Matthews in front of the net. Matthews pulled the puck to his backhand and slid it just inside the right post as Daccord tried to maneuver across the crease.

The Maple Leafs doubled their lead at 2:51 of the second, as Tyler Bertuzzi’s saucer pass down the left wing created a two-on-one rush. Max Domi sent a pass across the slot to Robertson, who slammed a one-timer inside the far post.

The Kraken got on the board at 14:03 the period, after Tomas Tatar picked up the puck behind the net and wheeled back to the left faceoff circle. Tatar’s wrist shot went off the shin pad of teammate Jared McCann as he set up a screen, but Eberle was able to find the puck amid several skates in front of the net, pulled it back and lifted a forehander over Samsonov.

Seattle nearly tied the score just 13 seconds later as Oliver Bjorkstrand skated in on a breakaway, but his shot went off the crossbar and out of play.

McCabe scored an empty-netter at 19:39 of the third to clinch the victory.

The Kraken played without No. 1 center Matty Beniers (upper body) and top defenseman Vince Dunn (undisclosed) for the fourth straight game. Forward Yanni Gourde sat out the first game of his two-game league suspension levied for a charging call Thursday at Edmonton.

–Field Level Media

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