Maple Leafs beat Flames 5-3, stretch win streak to 4 games
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — 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 had a goal and an assist, and Jason Spezza and Wayne Simmonds also scored 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, had two goals, and Andrew Mangiapane also scored for Calgary (16-21-3). Jacob Markstrom stopped 25 shots for the Flames, who have lost four straight and eight of nine in regulation. Elias Lindholm had two assists.
“It’s tough,” Backlund said. “We battled, we find a way to tie the game.
“They come back and beat us by two anyways ... it’s really hard.”
Currently the Leafs’ No. 1 goalie with Frederik Andersen 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).
“It just show how well we’re playing as a group,” Campbell said. “You don’t get those wins without everybody. Tonight we got a huge contribution from the power play to put the game away. We’ve been really building our game all year.
“The record’s a huge honor. But it’s all about winning.”
North Division-leading Toronto, which swept a four-game 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 4-0-0 in Calgary.
The fading Flames dropped to 5-10-1 under head coach Darryl Sutter, who replaced Geoff Ward on March 5 with the team 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 defenseman Travis Dermott and fooled Campbell for his seventh of the season.
The Leafs responded at 7:13 when Simmonds redirected Pierre Engvall’s pass from his knees for his sixth, and first in nine games since returning to the lineup from a broken wrist.
Toronto’s power play, which was 0 for 29, got a chance, but the Flames scored short-handed when Backlund scored 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 run with the man advantage.
Tavares picked up the only assist on that goal 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.
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 and he scored 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 without a goal last month, Matthews now has five goals in his last six games.
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 scored 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.
NOTES: Campbell and Potvin’s nine straight wins came at the start of their respective seasons. ... Markstrom played the 300th regular-season game of his career, becoming the fifth Swedish goalie to reach that milestone. ... Flames defenceman Rasmus Andersson dressed for his 200th NHL game.
Maple Leafs: Host the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.
Flames: At Toronto on April 13.
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