NHL goal leader Auston Matthews scored twice and Jack Campbell made 26 saves to tie a franchise record with his ninth straight win as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Calgary Flames 5-3 on Monday night.
John Tavares, with a goal and an assist, Jason Spezza and Wayne Simmonds provided the rest of the offence for Toronto (26-10-3), which has won four in a row and improved to 7-0-1 over its last eight games. William Nylander added two assists.
Mikael Backlund, with two, and Andrew Mangiapane replied for Calgary (16-21-3). Jacob Markstrom stopped 25 shots for the Flames, who have lost four straight and eight of their last nine in regulation. Elias Lindholm had two assists.
Currently the Leafs’ No. 1 option with Frederik Andersen still dealing with a lower-body injury, Campbell’s win streak equals a Leafs’ record shared by Felix Potvin (1993-94), Jacques Plante (1970-71) and John Ross Roach (1924-25).
North Division-topping Toronto, which swept a four-game road trip through Winnipeg and Calgary, leads the second-place Jets by six points in the standings, while the Edmonton Oilers are seven back in third.
The Leafs improved to 6-2-0 against the Flames in 2020-21, including a 4-0-0 record in Calgary.
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The fading Flames dropped to 5-10-1 under head coach Darryl Sutter, who replaced Geoff Ward on March 5 with the team sitting at 11-11-2.
Down 2-1 through 40 minutes, Calgary got even at 4:17 of the third period when Backlund’s shot off a scrambled draw hit Toronto defenceman Travis Dermott and fooled Campbell for his seventh of the season.
The Leafs responded at 7:13 when Simmonds redirected Pierre Engvall’s pass home from his knees for his sixth, and first in nine games since returning to the lineup from a broken wrist.
WATCH | CBC Sports’ Rob Pizzo recaps week 11 in the NHL’s North Division:
Toronto’s anemic power play, which was sat 0 for 28, then got a chance, but the Flames scored shorthanded when Backlund deposited his eighth at 10:05.
Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe called a timeout to settle things down, and his team responded when Matthews banged home a rebound to score his 27th goal of the campaign just 55 seconds later to snap Toronto’s ugly run with the man advantage.
Tavares picked up the only assist on that one for the 800th point of his NHL career, and Toronto’s captain then made it 5-3 just 1:20 later when he scored his 12th, and second in as many games.
Campbell robbed Matthew Tkachuk late with a sparkling glove save to put an accent on his ninth consecutive win.
The Leafs opened the scoring at 3:10 of the second following a grinding shift by the trio of Spezza, Joe Thornton and Alexander Kerfoot in the Calgary end. The puck eventually found its way in front to Spezza for him swat home for his ninth goal — and fourth in the last nine games — to equal his total from 2019-20.
Matthews made it 2-0 at 7:53 when he took a pass from Nylander and snapped his 26th past Markstrom. After going five games with out a goal last month, Matthews now has five goals in his last six contests.
Leafs blue-liner Justin Holl cleared a Sean Monahan chance off Campbell’s goal line prior to Toronto’s outburst, but the Flames finally got on the board with 1:54 left in the period when Noah Hanifin’s shot deflected off a leg in front right to Mangiapane, who made no mistake in burying his 12th.
After the Leafs gave Campbell the night off Sunday — Veini Vehvilainen backed up third-stringer Michael Hutchinson in a 4-2 win over the Flames — as he continues to manage a nagging leg injury, the 29-year-old had a to be sharp early.
Dermott also scooped a loose puck off Toronto’s goal line before Campbell, who was initially hurt Jan. 24 in Calgary, held the fort on the ensuing scramble that saw him somehow rob Nordstrom while prone on the ice.
Matthews came close to putting the visitors in front on a between-the-legs effort from in tight only to see his shot go just wide.