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|7:00 PM PT8:00 PM MT9:00 PM CT10:00 PM ET3:00 GMT11:00 8:00 PM MST10:00 PM EST7:00 UAE (+1)22:00 ET1:00 BRT, December 10, 2019
Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia Attendance: 18,290
Rejuvenated Matthews leads Leafs into Vancouver
Auston Matthews rediscovered his scoring touch at just the right time.
Matthews, who had gone a season-high five games without a goal, scored twice Saturday as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues 5-2 on the road.
Matthews and the Maple Leafs will look to continue their strong play when they travel to play the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.
"It's a huge relief," Matthews said of breaking out of his slump. "It kind of gets you going, gets your confidence back. I've just got to try and get my chances, shoot the puck as much as I can, and eventually I think it's going to go in."
Matthews broke a 1-1 tie in a four-goal first period for the Leafs and added his team-leading 18th goal of the season on a second-period power play. The No. 1 overall choice in the 2016 NHL draft had scored just once in seven previous career games against the Blues, all losses.
Zach Hyman also scored twice for the Maple Leafs, and goaltender Frederik Andersen made 26 saves. Andersen has won five of his past seven starts to improve to 14-7-3.
"We got off to a good start, (Andersen) made some big saves, and we got to roll all four lines during the game," Matthews said.
Matthews' breakout didn't surprise coach Sheldon Keefe.
"It's got to feel good for him," said Keefe, who is 5-3-0 since taking over from the fired Mike Babcock. "I had full confidence it was going to fall in for him."
The Maple Leafs snapped a two-game losing streak that included a 6-1 loss at Philadelphia, after which Matthews suggested his team "kind of folded, kind of just quit."
That was forgotten after the four-goal first period in St. Louis.
"We played with confidence a little bit better," said Toronto's Jason Spezza, who also scored. "We had some pretty good moments and got rewarded with some of our chances."
The Canucks are coming off a 6-5 overtime victory against visiting Buffalo on Saturday, a game in which they blew a trio of leads and allowed the tying goal with 59 seconds left in regulation.
J.T. Miller scored a power-play goal 3:21 into overtime to give the Canucks their second straight victory as they straddle the playoff cutline in the Western Conference.
"We have to stay in the present and worry about each game and try not to look too far ahead," Miller said. "If you worry about the present, take care of all the things you can control, it leads to success at the end of the year."
Antoine Roussel and Josh Leivo both scored twice for the Canucks, and defenseman Tyler Myers added a short-handed goal and an assist against his former team.
"We've talked about the same thing the last couple of weeks, staying with it no matter what happens during a game," Myers said. "We would have liked to have finished it off in 60 (minutes), but to do it in overtime was a good way for our group to keep playing the same way."
Roussel has three goals in two games after missing eight months following knee surgery. The Canucks also got a boost from the return of forwards Jay Beagle (lower body) and Micheal Ferland (concussion).
Canucks captain Bo Horvat left with 3:38 remaining in regulation under the league's concussion protocol, but he told reporters after the game he was fine and was ready to take the next shift before Miller scored the winner.
--Field Level Media
Updated December 10, 2019