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Matthews scores 2, Maple Leafs beat Kraken 5-1

Former Seattle captain Giordano sets all-time blocks record

By MARK MOSCHETTI, , Associated Press,
Published: February 26, 2023, 8:15pm
6 Photos
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) scores a goal as Seattle Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer (31) and defenseman Will Borgen (3) defend during the second period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023, in Seattle.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) scores a goal as Seattle Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer (31) and defenseman Will Borgen (3) defend during the second period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Jason Redmond) Photo Gallery

SEATTLE (AP) — Auston Matthews had two goals and Mark Giordano scored in his first game back in Seattle since being traded to Toronto last season as the Maple Leafs beat the Kraken 5-1 Sunday.

Timothy Liljegren had a goal and an assist for Toronto, and John Tavares also scored. Mitchel Marner haded three assists; William Nylander and Michael Bunting had two each. Ilya Samsonov made 26 saves.

Vince Dunn scored for Seattle. Phillip Grubauer started and gave up four goals on 21 shots before he was replaced early in the second period by Martin Jones, who had 11 saves.

After Dunn’s 11th goal of the year gave the Kraken a 1-0 lead 3:47 into the game, Giordano tied it just 71 seconds later. Giordano, who served as Seattle’s captain last season until he was traded to Toronto for draft picks last March 20, fired a hard shot from the left faceoff circle that hit Grubauer’s right pad and deflected into the net for his fourth of the year.

In the second period, Girodano got his skate on a shot by Seattle’s Carson Soucy to set a record with his 2,045th career block. The old mark of 2,044 was by former Calgary teammate Kris Russell. Blocked shots have been recorded by the NHL since 2005-06.

“It’s something I’m definitely proud of. It shows that you care and try to do the right thing for the team,” Giordano said. “You think about it (getting the record), and it’s something in the back of your mind. It’s not a glamorous record by any means, but I think it speaks to playing a long time and playing hard and playing the right way. I don’t take it lightly.”

Tavares put the Maple Leafs ahead for good permanently in front at 7:06. Justin Hoff’s hard shot from the right circle bounced off heavy traffic in the goal crease. Nylander got his stick on and poked it over to Tavares in front of the left post and Tavares put it into a wide-open net for his 27th of the season.

Liljegren’s hard wrister from the right circle with 6:09 left in the first extended the lead to 3-1 as Toronto finished the period with a 19-7 advantage in shots. It was his fifth.

Giving up three goals in nine minutes after taking the 1-0 lead didn’t sit well with Kraken coach Dave Hakstol.

“Our response to their first goal, again, wasn’t good enough,” Hakstol said. “Our energy at the start of the game was good, but we have to have a better response and have to be stiffer When a tough goal goes in, we have to be stiffer than that – not just the next two shifts, but for the rest of the period.”

Matthews scored at 4:15 of the second to push Toronto’s lead to 4-1 lead and end Grubauer’s night.

Mathews got his second of the game and 28th of the season with 7:29 left in the third to cap the scoring.

The Maple Leafs reversed last month’s result in Toronto, when the Kraken came away with a 5-1 victory.

“Last time we played these guys, they were leading the league in goals, so we knew what to expect,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. “If you look at a lot of different areas statistically, we might have played a better game at home when we lost 5-1. The difference today is we scored early and got a good lead. Last time, we played well, but didn’t score, and we gave up some really good looks.”

NOTES: Marner, who has a team-leading 74 points, now has 54 assists. Sunday was the 142nd multiple-point game of his career, surpassing Ron Ellis for the ninth-most in Maple Leafs history. … Nylander extended his point streak to seven games and now has 19 multi-point games. … Jordan Eberle’s assist on Dunn’s goal for Seattle increased his team-leading total to 34.

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