McCann drives Kraken comeback, Marner's big night drives Leafs victory

Seattle Kraken v Detroit Red Wings

Photo: Gregory Shamus / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Mitch Marner earned his second career hat trick and scored the closed the game with a shootout goal to help the Toronto Maple Leafs hold off the Seattle Kraken, 4-3 in a shootout before 18,366 fans at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday. 

The Kraken lost more ground by falling two points back of the final wild card spot but escaped further damage by rallying out of a two-goal deficit in the third period to steal an overtime point. Jared McCann, playing just a short drive away from his hometown of Stratford, tied the game with 6:36 left and scored a pair of goals. Eel Tolvanen also scored with 13:45 left in the third period to start the rally. 

“I liked our play completely,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. “I liked our special teams, I liked our five-on-five play, they had some opportunities and zone time. Outstanding second period. Better third period. Ton of character coming back and tying up the hockey game. For the most part, we owned the overtime.” 

Joseph Woll, stopping Kailer Yamamoto and Jared McCann in the shootout, made 37 saves while Philipp Grubauer, helping stop the bleeding after Marner’s hat trick with 3:59 left in the second period, made 25 saves. 

“We lost a point in a shootout,” said Hakstol. “We were the better team (Thursday). I call it as I see it. If we don’t play well, I’ll let you know and I think I do that pretty honestly.”

“We deserved a better outcome.” 

Three takeaways from the game: 

1.     Mitch Marner’s get-right game: Perhaps it’s going to be a sore-thumb level with Kraken fans who see players and teams cure their ails against the Kraken, and there are methods to plan against an eruptive breakout game, but talented players are sometimes flat out due. Marner had no goals in eight straight games, and just needed one goal to get the ball rolling on his big night. 

The Kraken left Marner exposed at the left circle, who hammered a one-timer past Grubauer, then left him alone and behind the defense for their only high-grade scoring chance given up in the second period for the hat trick. 

“We’ve got to be better in front of (Grubauer),” said McCann. “We didn’t make it easy on him. We need to do a better job of getting into lanes as forwards and blocking shots.” 

The Kraken need answers for Marner, who has five goals and 12 points in five meetings against the Kraken in his career. 

2.     A valiant comeback swiped one point off the table. The third period was another sink or swim moment for a team that had left Philipp Grubauer to face a ton of pressure in the first period, fall behind, then figure out how to stop a red hot Mitch Marner while making up two goals in the final 20 minutes of play. 

The second period set the table, through around a pair of Marner goals, as the Kraken blistered the Maple Leafs net at a 25-7 advantage in shot attempts. That momentum carried over into the third period, where Tolvanen’s early goal was key to launch the comeback. McCann then found his spot, at the left circle, set up by crisp Alex Wennberg pass while threading four defenders (!!!) to tie the game. 

“(Wennberg) has great vision,” said McCann. “I was just trying to get open for him. He makes everybody look at the puck. He’s got that ability.” 

The Kraken had multiple chances to end the game in overtime and it took two gigantic saves by Woll to preserve the game, stopping Wennberg and Jordan Eberle. Yet, for a game the Kraken could have folded by the end of the second period, stealing a point against an Eastern Conference foe helped salvage part of the evening. 

3.     Then we get back to the first period, where the Kraken fell behind. It’s cliché to say, “play a full 60 minutes,” but the Kraken were outshot 13-7 in the 20 of them, and left Grubauer to try everything in his might to keep the game close. Toronto owned the shot quality in the first period at 65 percent, then the Kraken turned the momentum upside down for the rest of the night. But Tye Kartye’s hooking penalty would be costly, leaving Marner open for a power play goal, and robbing the Kraken of more offensive zone time to establish their game and get an early goal, rather than chase the entire evening.  

A better start in Ottawa on Saturday might help. The last three games have left the Kraken tied or trailing at the end of one period of play, all resulting in losses.  

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content