Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Ilya Mikheyev (65) collides with Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) on a breakaway during second period NHL action in Toronto on Saturday May 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Ilya Mikheyev (65) collides with Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) on a breakaway during second period NHL action in Toronto on Saturday May 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Matthews scores 37th and 38th goals of the season, Leafs down Canucks 5-1

Vancouver has now dropped five of last six games

Auston Matthews scored twice to raise his NHL-leading goal total 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, into an empty net, had the other goals for Toronto (33-13-5), while Mitch Marner added two assists. Jack Campbell stopped 26 shots for the North Division’s top team, which finished 5-3-1 against the Canucks in 2021.

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 a jaw-dropping 17 times in his last 17 contests.

The 23-year-old sniper’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.

Tanner Pearson replied for Vancouver (19-23-3), which got 25 saves from Thatcher Demko. After beating the 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.

Vancouver announced before the game forward Jake Virtanen has been placed on leave following “concerning allegations” of sexual misconduct. The team released a statement saying it “does not accept sexual misconduct of any kind and the claims as reported are being treated very seriously.”

The Canucks added they have “engaged external expertise” to assist in an independent investigation. Head coach Travis Green declined to answer any questions on the situation in his pre-game media availability, including if Virtanen is still with the team or when he learned of the allegations.

On the other side, Nick Foligno picked up an assist in his first game at Scotiabank Arena since coming over in a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets prior to last month’s trade deadline.

Sporting the same No. 71 his dad, Mike, wore when he played for the 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 defencemen Morgan Rielly and Jake Muzzin, with an eye towards managing wear and tear ahead of the playoffs.

Tied 1-1 through 20 minutes, the 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 actually took a deflection off Edler, who was on the wrong end of a fight with Wayne Simmonds on Thursday for his knee-on-knee hit on Toronto’s Zach Hyman when the teams played in Vancouver last month, and fooled Demko.

READ MORE: Canucks place Jake Virtanen on leave following sexual misconduct allegations

Pearson had a golden opportunity to double his tally after putting Vancouver up 1-0 in the first off a Matthews turnover in front of his own net, but Campbell was there with the glove.

Toronto stretched its advantage to 3-1 at 4:55 of the third when Brooks, who continues to solidify his spot on the fourth line alongside Thornton and Jason Spezza, tipped Justin Holl’s point shot by Demko for his fourth.

Galchenyuk rounded out the scoring with his fourth at 11:39 after Demko made the initial stop on William Nylander.

Thornton then buried his fifth into an empty net with two minutes left to seal it.

The Canucks, who registered just two shots in Thursday’s opening period, had a much better start and got on the board with 6:32 left in the first when Pearson fired his 10th through a screen off Campbell’s far post on a set play following an offensive zone faceoff.

The Leafs responded just 1:56 later when Foligno and Marner combined to find Matthews in front to score his 37th on a shot that went off J.T. Miller’s stick, the post and past Demko.

Matthews had another great chance earlier in the period, but Demko was there to stop the first shot before Toronto’s star centre batted the rebound out of mid-air just wide.

Notes: Canucks centre Tyler Motte, who left Thursday’s game with an undisclosed injury, didn’t dress for the visitors. … Vancouver, which has 11 games remaining on its schedule, play the Edmonton Oilers four times between Monday and next Saturday. … Toronto plays Montreal three times next week beginning Monday before closing out its regular season with games against the Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

CanucksNHLTorontoVancouver

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cops for Kids riders will be spinning 30 feet in the air on scissor lifts at SaveOn Foods locations in Kelowna, Lake Country and West Kelowna Saturday, May 8, 2021. (File photo)
Cops reach new heights for Okanagan kids

Nor-Val Rentals is doing the heavy lifting Saturday in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News file)
People aged 30+ in Rutland, Summerland offered vaccine amid high transmission risk

Interior Health offers residents of Kelowna’s Rutland area and Summerland aged 30 and up chance at vaccine

Alex Hegedus (left) with his wife and two young children. (Contributed/Kelowna RCMP)
Family offers reward for information about Peachland man’s suspicious 2018 death

Alex Hegedus died under suspicious circumstances in March 2018

Two e-scooters parked on the sidewalk along Water Street in downtown Kelowna on Monday, May 3. Scooters parked on walkways are causing accessibility issues for some people with disabilities. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a quick summary of the stories that made an impact from May 3 to 5

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

Lake Country firefighters assisted the RCMP on Kalamalka Lake Tuesday, May 4. (Fire Department file photo)
Okanagan RCMP interrupt houseboat break-in

Pair in their 30s arrested but no charges laid after alleged Kalamalka Lake incident

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

Most Read