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Matthews scores twice as Maple Leafs beat Canucks 5-1

TORONTO (AP) – Auston Matthews scored twice to raise his NHL-leading goal to 38 as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-1 on Saturday for their fifth straight win. Adam Brooks, Alex Galchenyuk, and Joe Thornton also scored for Toronto. Mitch Marner had two assists, and Jack Campbell stopped 26 shots for the North Division’s top team, which finished 5-3-1 against the Canucks this season.

Both of Matthews’ goals came off assists to Marner.

“It’s one thing to have some chemistry,” Toronto netminder Jack Campbell said of the dynamic duo. “It’s another to have their talent and use it together for the (betterment) of the team. They both have the team in mind in all the plays they make.

“Coming back in the defensive zone, making great plays, and then it leads to those highlight-reel plays you see on the TV every night.” Matthews’ 38 goals have come in just 47 games – he missed four with a wrist injury – and he’s found the back of the net 17 times in his last 17 contests.


“It’s unbelievable,” Leafs forward Alex Galchenyuk said of the No. 1 pick at the 2016 draft’s relentless pursuit of his first Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer. “A one-of-a-kind player.”

The 23-year-old’s second of the night was his league-best 12th game-winner and moved him one back of Charlie Conacher’s franchise-record 13 in a season.

“He’s feeling it,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. “The chemistry between him and Mitch is obvious. He went through a tough stretch where he battled through injuries.

“He’s feeling better, and you’re seeing the results.”

Tanner Pearson scored for Vancouver. Thatcher Demko finished with 25 saves.

“A couple of turnovers they were able to capitalize on, and that was the difference,” Demko said. “But overall, I thought it was a pretty good effort.” After beating the Maple Leafs twice in Vancouver, coming off their COVID-19 shutdown that saw 21 players and four staff members test positive, the Canucks have lost five of six – and four in a row in regulation. Nick Foligno picked up an assist for Toronto in his first game at Scotiabank Arena since coming over to deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets before last month’s trade deadline.

Sporting the same No. 71 his dad, Mike, wore when he played for the Maple Leafs in the early 1990s, the veteran forward sat out his new team’s 4-1 victory over Vancouver on Thursday along with Campbell and defensemen Morgan Rielly and Jake Muzzin, to manage wear and tear ahead of the playoffs.

Tied 1-1 through 20 minutes, the Maple Leafs took their first lead 3:50 into the second period when Marner stole the puck from Alexander Edler behind Vancouver’s net and found Matthews in front to fire home his 38th of the campaign. The puck took a deflection off Edler and fooled Demko. “He’s done an amazing job in the offensive zone getting himself open,” Marner said of Matthews. “He can shoot the puck from really wherever in his stance. It’s been a lot of fun to play with him, and it’s been a lot of fun to see him do what he’s doing this year.”

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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