TORONTO (AP)Auston Matthews scored twice to extend his goal streak to a career-best seven games and the Toronto Maple Leafs heaped more misery on the Vancouver Canucks with a 5-1 victory Saturday night.
”I try to have the same mindset whether the puck’s going in or not,” said the 23-year-old center, who also scored a pair in Thursday’s 7-3 victory over Vancouver.
”I think in both these games we’ve played here, he could have had four or five,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. ”He was really feeling it.”
Wayne Simmonds scored twice and Zach Hyman had a goal and an assist, providing the rest of the offense for Toronto (9-2-1). Frederik Andersen made 27 saves.
Mitch Marner added three assists to extend his point streak to seven games for Toronto. 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.
”We’re controlling the puck well,” Marner said. ”When that’s happening, it’s a good sign from us.”
Brock Boeser scored 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 surrendered an NHL-worst 60 goals, including at least five the ninth time.
”Everything looks difficult for our team,” Vancouver head coach Travis Green said. ”Simple plays look hard right now.”
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 games since Wendel Clark and Dave Andreychuk in 1993-94. … The Leafs wore their Reverse Retro jerseys at home for the first 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.