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

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

A group of men pose for a photo at the Griffin Lake internment camp. (Submitted)
Volunteers wanted to help commemorate internment camps in Shuswap

There were six camps along the Highway 1 cooridor between Sicamous and Revelstoke.

A member of the Vernon Search and Rescue winch helicopter team pulls a skier who broke her leg at the gorge backcountry area east of Sicamous into the helicopter on Friday March 5. (Shuswap Search and Rescue/Facebook)
Search and rescue helicopter helps injured skier out of Shuswap backcountry

The Salmon Arm woman broke her leg, but was helped out of the bush thanks to radio communication.

SASCU is looking to celebrate its 75th anniversary with a legacy project, in the same way the Shuswap credit union marked its 60th by commissioning the apple sculpture at its downtown location. That artwork includes 14 apples honouring SASCU’s founding families. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Shuswap credit union to mark 75th anniversary with legacy project

SASCU will be looking for input from arts community, city

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Multiple people were injured at a Vernon home following an early-morning break-in Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Multiple people left injured following break-and-enter in Vernon

Police believe the early-morning break-in was targeted and not a threat to the general public

Isaac Gilbert is running for council in the by-election for Jake Kimberley’s vacated seat. (Submitted)
First candidate for Penticton council by-election makes himself known

Isaac Gilbert is making a second run at council after receiving 19.63 per cent of the vote in 2018

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna General Hospital

One patient and one staff member on Unit have tested positive for the virus.

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

A Coldstream resident who found an owl struggling on her property in March 2021 is now spreading awareness of about the knock-on effects of rodent poisoning. (Kathy Renaud photo)
Okanagan owl ‘fighting for her life’ after ingesting rat poison

Coldstream resident warns against the use of rodenticide due to risk of secondary poisoning in raptors

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Fire ripped through a mobile home on Boucherie Road in West Kelowna on March. 6. (Phil McLachlan - West Kelowna News)
‘My whole life just went up in smoke’; Fire consumes Okanagan mobile home

RCMP confirmed that there were no injuries due to the fire

Most Read