TORONTO — Trevor Moore scored his first NHL goal and Michael Hutchinson made 28 saves as the Toronto Maple Leafs blanked the Vancouver Canucks 5-0 on Saturday night.
Auston Matthews had a goal and two assists while Andreas Johnsson, John Tavares and Igor Ozhiganov provided the rest of the offence for Toronto (27-12-2), which snapped a two-game slide that came on the heels of five straight wins.
The shutout was Hutchinson’s fourth in the NHL and his first since Oct. 28, 2016, when the native of nearby Barrie, Ont., was a member of the Winnipeg Jets.
Jacob Markstrom stopped 29 shots for Vancouver (20-21-4). The Canucks, who wrapped up a six-game road trip, have been shut out in three of their last four outings.
Playing a third game in four nights, Vancouver was minus star rookie centre Elias Pettersson after he injured his right knee in the second period of Thursday’s 2-0 loss to the Canadiens in Montreal.
Pettersson easily leads all NHL rookies with 42 points (22 goals, 20 assists) — 17 more than Ottawa Senators centre Colin White.
"I'd be more worried if we weren't getting chances, but we are. They're a great hockey team, there's a reason they're at the top of the league." – Bo Horvat pic.twitter.com/1oqXRvtMzX
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) January 6, 2019
Acquired from the Florida Panthers last weekend for a fifth-round pick in the 2020 draft, Hutchinson made his second consecutive start for Toronto with Leafs No. 1 goalie Frederik Andersen (groin) and backup Garret Sparks (concussion) still sidelined.
Hutchinson, who was 1-1-2 with Florida this season before getting sent to the minors, was also an emergency recall from the AHL’s Toronto Marlies for Thursday’s 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild, an afternoon tilt where he finished with 30 saves. Kasimir Kaskisuo was also recalled from the Marlies for the third straight game to serve as the Leafs’ backup.
Toronto opened the scoring Saturday at 8:54 of the first period when Tavares outmuscled Canucks defenceman Erik Gudbranson in front to tip home his 27th goal of the season off Morgan Rielly’s point shot. The chance came seconds after Mitch Marner, who had scored nine goals in his last eight outings, missed the net on a great chance from the slot.
The Leafs made it 2-0 at 14:30 on Moore’s first in the NHL in his fifth game. The speedy winger blew past Derrick Pouliot — it wasn’t a good period for Canucks blue-liners — like he wasn’t even there before beating Markstrom between the pads.
Bo Horvat had Vancouver’s only two quality opportunities of the period, but Hutchinson was there to stop him on a partial breakaway and another shot late on a Canucks power play.
Hutchinson entered the night 3-1-0 with a .935 save percentage and a 1.77 goals-against average in four career starts against Vancouver with Winnipeg between 2013 and 2018, and needed to be sharp in the second.
The Toronto netminder took two shots off the mask early in the period before making a nice stop on a Jay Beagle redirection.
Markstrom, who was 8-1-0 in December to get Vancouver back into to playoff hunt, kept his team within two when he stopped Kasperi Kapanen and Ozhiganov off the rush before Patrick Marleau’s third attempt was deflected out of play.
Matthews then put things out of reach at 4:45 of the third on a wraparound Markstrom will want back for his 20th, and first in six games. The goal was also worth US$212,500 as part of the bonus structure of his entry-level contract.
Johnsson made it 4-0 with his ninth, firing upstairs shortside on Markstrom after coming out from behind the Vancouver net at 11:55.
Ozhiganov added insult to injury with his second of the year with 5:11 left in regulation when the defenceman fired a pass in front that went of Gudbranson’s skate and in.
The Canucks went 3-3-0 in the six games without an injured Pettersson earlier this season, but scored just 11 goals over that span, including nine in regulation.
Vancouver will now enter its first four-day break of 2018-19, and plays just six more times — all at home — the rest of January.
Toronto hosts the Nashville Predators on Monday.
Notes: Hutchinson played 102 games with Winnipeg before suiting up for four more this season as a member of the Panthers prior to the deal as Toronto searched for goaltending depth. … Andersen said after Friday’s practice, his first full session since Dec. 27, that he’s close to a return. … Marleau played the 1,616th game of his career to pass Larry Murphy and move into sole possession for ninth all-time in NHL history. … Marner played his 200th game. … Rielly entered with 44 points to sit tied with Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks for top spot in scoring among defencemen this season.
Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press