Matthews scores 57th and 58th, Maple Leafs top Canadiens 3-2
TORONTO (AP) — Auston Matthews scored his NHL-leading 57th and 58th goals 27 seconds apart in the first period to help the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on Saturday night.
Toronto wrapped up a playoff spot for the sixth straight straight season and hit 100 points in the standings.
Matthews’ opener marked his 50th goal in his last 50 games, making him the first player to accomplish the feat since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96.
“I don’t really have too many words for that,” Matthews said. “It’s pretty surreal. He’s one of the best players to ever play. It’s extremely humbling.”
Matthews extended his points streak to 16 games (21 goals, 10 assists).
“He’s doing something special right now,” said defenseman Morgan Rielly, Toronto’s longest serving player. “To be a part of it is a lot of fun.”
Linemate Mitch Marner has a 13-game run (eight goals, 20 assists).
John Tavares also scored for Toronto, and Erik Kallgren made 24 saves.
Cole Caufield and Joel Edmundson scored for Montreal. Jake Allen stopped the first 14 shots he faced before leaving with an apparent leg injury as he stretched for Matthews’ first goal.
Sam Montembeault made 23 stops the rest of the way.
“It’s never easy to come in cold,” Montembault said. “I might have been better off getting the first one from someone other than Matthews.”
Matthews set Toronto’s single-season record for goals when he scored for the 55th and 56th time on Thursday night in a 4-3 overtime victory in Dallas.
Rick Vaive, who held the franchise mark of 54 goals in a campaign for 40 years, was on hand at Scotiabank Arena earlier Saturday to personally congratulate the 24-year-old on his accomplishment before becoming the first NHLer in 26 years to bag 50 in 50.
“He had some really nice words,” Matthews said. “Guys like him that have come before us really paved the way and showed what it really means to be a Toronto Maple Leaf. Just a really, really cool day.”
Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos is the last NHL player to get to 60 goals when he reached the milestone in 2011-12.
Canadiens: Host Winnipeg on Monday night.
Maple Leafs: Host Buffalo on Tuesday night.
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