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High-scoring Kraken continue northern tour at Canadiens

Jan 5, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Seattle Kracken forward Jared McCann (19) scores on this shot against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Kraken have had little trouble scoring goals on their current trip through Canada.

That might not bode well for the Montreal Canadiens, who have struggled to keep pucks out of their own net all season.

Looking to remain undefeated in the new year, the visiting Kraken will try for a fifth straight victory Monday night against the Canadiens.

Seattle’s stellar sophomore NHL season has continued with a four-game winning streak to open 2023 — after losing the final three of 2022. After winning 4-1 over the New York Islanders at home on New Year’s Day, the Kraken hit the road, where they’ve outscored Edmonton, Toronto and Ottawa 18-7 to take the first three of this season-high seven-game trip.

Eight different Seattle players scored during Saturday’s 8-4 victory over the Senators. Andre Burakovsky and Jordan Eberle each had a goal with two assists for the Kraken, who are 12-4-2 on the road after winning just 11 away from home last season.

“We’re just a better hockey team,” said Seattle coach Dave Hakstol, whose club ranks third in the NHL at 3.66 goals per game.

“We’ve worked hard to be successful on the road. That’s not an easy thing to do, but we’ve found different ways to win games.”

Seattle pulled out a 4-3 shootout win at Montreal last season. However, the Kraken allowed three second-period goals en route to their 4-2 home loss to the Canadiens on Dec. 6.

Montreal snapped an 0-6-1 skid with Saturday’s 5-4 home win over St. Louis. Joel Armia scored twice and Cole Caufield matched his career high with goal No. 23, becoming the fastest Canadiens player since 1967 to record 50 NHL goals (117 games).

“We didn’t want that slide, but it happened,” Montreal coach Martin St. Louis said. “So, now it’s the power of your response, and what you do from here. We’re trying to respond right now.

“The next game, you gotta do it all over again.”

If the Canadiens, who haven’t won back-to-back games since Nov. 23-25, are to truly sustain a positive run, they must play some consistently solid defense. Montreal allows an average of 3.80 goals per game, fourth-most in the league, and has given up at least four in seven consecutive contests.

Montreal’s Jake Allen stopped 18 of 22 shots against the Blues for his first win since Dec. 12, but he has yielded 20 goals in his last four starts. Allen did make 31 saves at Seattle last month. Meanwhile, backup Sam Montembeault has allowed 13 goals in his last two outings.

Burakovsky assisted on Jared McCann’s goal against the Canadiens last month. McCann has a goal in three straight games, and 11 of his 19 this season have come on the road.

Seattle goaltender Martin Jones is among the NHL leaders with 18 wins, but he gave up all four goals versus Montreal in December on 16 shots. He has a 2.00 goals-against average while in net for all four January contests. Backup Philipp Grubauer owns a 3.95 GAA while losing six of his last seven starts.

Caufield has four goals in four games and scored at Seattle last month.

–Field Level Media

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