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

Stock photo
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Let’s find a cure for potato pox

What happened to the clean-skinned potato of my youth, asks letter writer

An app available through the Vancouver Island Regional Library’s website can help students during COVID times. (Stock photo)
New library app can help families with online learning

Sample tests, virtual flashcards available through Vancouver Island Regional Library’s website

The Nanaimo Clippers in action at Frank Crane Arena in early 2020. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Clippers for sale as owner says hockey won’t be back to normal any time soon

Wes Mussio says he’s had numerous inquiries about the junior A club already

The current boat used by Rugged Coast Research Society for remote shoreline cleanup operations will be replaced by a landing craft that will allow society members to haul four times as much marine garbage per trip from Vancouver Island’s remote shorelines. (Agathe Bernard photo/Rugged Coast Research Society)
Nanaimo-based research group needs bigger boat for coastal cleanups

Rugged Coast Research Society raising cash for landing craft to pull trash from remote shorelines

Pet owners are leaving more dog waste than ever before on Nanaimo’s paths and trails, says letter writer. (Stock photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Dog owners need to pick up after their pets

Letter writer says he’s ‘disgusted’ by dog walkers not picking up their dog waste

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Lone orca from a pod that made its way north from Georgia Strait and into Discovery Passage on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Ella Smiley/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Comoxvalleywildlifesightings/?ref=page_internal" target="_blank">Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings </a>
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

A crossover utility vehicle smashed through the front of a business on Bowen Road on Friday evening. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Vehicle smashes all the way into business on Nanaimo’s Bowen Road

No serious injuries reported after incident at Venue Financial Centres

Snuneymuxw artist Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun is among the artists participating in the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Rain Shadow exhibit. His piece, ‘We Fell from the Sky/Together and Apart,’ depicts a Snuneymuxw creation story. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Art Gallery exhibit explores the ways people think about place

‘Rain Shadow’ features work mostly by Vancouver Island and Gulf Island artists

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

Wayne Allen's graduation photo from Chemainus Secondary School. (Photo submitted)
Brother charged with murder in Vancouver Island teenager’s Ontario death

Jesse James Allen stands accused in the death of Wayne Allen, a 2020 Chemainus Secondary grad

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)

Most Read