WEEKLY RECAP: Leafs go 2–0 against struggling Canucks

  

Game one

The Toronto Maple Leafs came off their first break of the season, playing their first of three against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.

Jason Spezza scored to put the Leafs up 2–1 and then 4–2 before completing the hat trick in the third period. This is Spezza’s eighth career hat trick, and his first in nearly five years.

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The Maple Leafs had offense from all through the lineup this game, with 11 players collecting points. Auston Matthews also scored twice in this game, extending his goal streak.

Travis Dermott left the game after the first period with what Head Coach Sheldon Keefe described as a charley horse. It is expected to just be a minor injury, and Dermott should be able to play again soon.

Game two

With Dermott unavailable, Mikko Lehtonen drew back into the lineup for Toronto.

The Leafs dominated early, with 14 shots against Vancouver netminder Braden Holtby before allowing one to reach Frederik Andersen. Matthews and Wayne Simmonds both scored twice, and early in the third period, the Leafs had a 5–0 lead.

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With nine minutes left in the third, Simmonds took a puck to the hand and left the game.

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There is not definite recovery timeline yet for the veteran forward. When asked, Keefe only said that Simmonds was still being assessed, and there will not be an update until Monday. However, Elliotte Friedman did say he has heard it could be up to six weeks. This is a major loss for the team, as they are already without Nick Robertson and Joe Thornton.

Andersen was steady all game, stopping 27 shots.

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Unfortunately, Brock Boeser scored on the power play late in the third to end the shutout bid, and the game ended 5–1.

Matthews scored twice, again, in this game. After starting relatively slow (in relation to his normal production), Matthews is on a seven-game goal streak, with nine goals over that time.

The Maple Leafs are now 7–0–1 over their last eight games and have one point more than the Montreal Canadiens to hold the North Division lead. Toronto plays the Canucks once more on Monday before taking on the Canadiens twice on Wednesday and Friday.

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