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

This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)
Interior Health notes 80 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

108 people in the region have died from the virus

Forty-eight vaccination clinics will open across Interior Health beginning March 15. (Canadian Press)
48 COVID-19 vaccine clinics to open across Interior Health

Select groups can book appointments starting Monday

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

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to Stoney and Minnie lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

(Black Press Media files)
Hosts charged, attendees facing COVID fines after Vancouver police bust party at condo

Police had previously received 10 complaints about that condo

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. A joint federal and B.C. government housing program announced today aims to help people living in up to 25,000 vulnerable households pay their rent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal, B.C. governments announce $517-million rent aid program to help vulnerable

Benefits for those not eligible for B.C.’s Rental Assistance Program or Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters

(BC SPCA)
Is it safe to give your dog some peanut butter? Not always, BC SPCA warns

Some commercial peanut butter ingredients can be harmful to dogs

Most Read