Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Wayne Simmonds (24) celebrates his goal against the Vancouver Canucks with teammate Auston Matthews (34) during first period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Saturday, February 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Wayne Simmonds (24) celebrates his goal against the Vancouver Canucks with teammate Auston Matthews (34) during first period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Saturday, February 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Red-hot Matthews scores 2 as Maple Leafs thump slumping Canucks 5-1

Simmonds also nets a pair for Toronto in easy win over Vancouver

Auston Matthews scored twice to extend his goal streak to a career-best seven consecutive games as the host Toronto Maple Leafs heaped more misery on the Vancouver Canucks with a 5-1 victory Saturday.

Wayne Simmonds, with two of his own, and Zach Hyman, with a goal and an assist, provided the rest of the offence for Toronto (9-2-1). Frederik Andersen made 27 saves

Mitch Marner added three assists to extend his point streak to seven games as the Leafs won their second straight against the Canucks following Thursday’s 7-3 blowout. Mikko Lehtonen chipped in with two assists for his first two-point night in the NHL.

Toronto is now 7-0-1 over its last eight to sit atop the North Division with 19 points, one better than the Montreal Canadiens.

Brock Boeser replied for Vancouver (6-9-0), which lost a fourth straight game in regulation this week. Braden Holtby stopped 26 shots in defeat.

Playing their league-leading 15th contest, the Canucks have now surrendered an NHL-worst 60 goals in 2020-21, including giving up at least five against for the ninth time.

The teams play seven more times in the NHL’s abbreviated season, including Monday back inside a fan-less Scotiabank Arena because of COVID-19 protocols to wrap up this three-game set.

Looking for a spark, Canucks head coach Travis Green reunited the “Lotto Line” of Boeser (No. 6), Elias Pettersson (No. 40) and J.T. Miller (No. 9), while Vancouver winger Loui Eriksson — who’s in the fifth season of a US$36-million, six-year contract — made his 2020-21 debut alongside Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson.

The Canucks, who made the second round of the 2019-20 pandemic-delayed playoffs inside the Edmonton bubble before undergoing a number off-season changes as key veterans left in free agency, showed more on this night than they did 48 hours earlier, but it was still far from good enough against the high-flying Leafs.

Toronto opened the scoring at 4:42 of the first when its lethal power play, which has now scored in 11 of 12 outings this season, went to work. Simmonds took a pass from Marner at the side of the net and, with the cross-ice pass to Matthews taken away by a defender, instead took his time and roofed his fourth of the season in off the bar.

Simmonds then hit two posts on the same shift as Vancouver, which didn’t register a shot attempt until Justin Bailey forced a save out of Andersen almost nine minutes in, struggled to keep up.

Pettersson, who would hit the post at the end of a power play late in the period, had a chance on a partial break Andersen turned aside before Matthews went to work.

The Leafs centre grabbed a loose puck in the Canucks’ zone, stepped past Vancouver defenceman Jalen Chatfield with ease, and roofed his ninth of the campaign upstairs past Holtby’s glove to extend his goal streak.

Pettersson had another chance early in the second staring at a wide-open net, but the puck bounced over his stick before Morgan Rielly hit the post at the other end.

READ MORE: Spezza nets hat trick as Maple Leafs dismantle Canucks 7-3

The Leafs would eventually make it 3-0 at 7:36 when Marner wove into the Vancouver zone and found Lehtonen, who in turn fed a great pass for Hyman to tap in his third.

The Canucks showed some life later in the period, with Andersen making a good save on Nils Hoglander in the slot. Miller then blasted a one-timer that beat the Leafs netminder, but Toronto correctly challenged for offside.

Matthews made it 4-0 with his 10th of the season — and ninth in his last seven outings — at 1:28 of the third when he outraced Miller to Holtby’s clearing attempt before firing five-hole.

Simmonds added to Vancouver’s pain at 1:48 later when he tipped home his fifth off point shot from Lehtonen, who was inserted into the lineup with Travis Dermott (leg) out injured.

Matthews had a chance at the third hat trick of his career with under eight minutes to go, but his stick snapped in half at the crucial moment.

Boeser spoiled Andersen’s bid for his first shutout of the season when he scored his sixth on a deflection with 2:04 with Toronto killing a penalty.

Notes: Simmonds was having his hand looked at by a trainer on the bench in the third before heading to the locker room. … Matthews, who scored in six straight games to open the 2018-19 season, is the first Leafs players to register goals in seven consecutive contests since Wendel Clark and Dave Andreychuk in 1993-94. … Bailey dressed for the first time this season for Vancouver. … The Leafs wore their Reverse Retro jerseys at home for the first time.

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

CanucksNHLTorontoVancouver

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vanderhoof municipal office sign on Burrard Avenue. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof council discuss requests from NWRI, airport, BC Wildfire

District of Vanderhoof held their regular public meeting of council on April… Continue reading

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

To send in Letters to the Editor, email aman.parhar@ominecaexpress.com
Letter: Increased aggression towards staff at Omineca Medical clinic

Dr. Davy Dhillon writes letter on behalf of the clinic

Basin Snow Water Index map for Apr. 1, 2021. (BC River Forecast Centre photo/Lakes District News)
Snowpack above normal for Upper Fraser West basin

Snowpack assessments for early April reveals above normal levels for northwestern British… Continue reading

Four young women prepare to model Magic Wand dresses at a fashion show. Magic Wand provides grad dresses and tuxedos for a nominal fee. (Submitted File Photo)
Nominations available for Cindrella Dreams Program in Vanderhoof

New organizer excited to help graduates with formal wear

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller said it would be “very challenging and not very safe” for him and his teammates to play as scheduled on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks’ return to ice postponed again after players voice COVID health concerns

Friday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers was called off after the team met virtually with the NHLPA

B.C. Attorney General David Eby, Minister Responsible for Housing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. announces $2B for affordable, middle-income family home projects

HousingHub financing to encourage more developers, groups – with low-interest loans – to build affordable homes

Most Read