Matthews scores NHL-leading 40th goal, Leafs beat Canadiens

TORONTO — Auston Matthews scored his NHL-leading 40th goal of the season to help the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-2 on Thursday night.

Mitch Marner and John Tavares each had a goal and an assist, Alex Galchenyuk and Pierre Engvall also scored and Jack Campbell made 20 saves. Campbell improved to 16-2-2, giving him the most wins by Toronto goalie through 20 games in a season.

Cole Caufield and Artturi Lehkonen scored for Montreal. Cayden Primeau allowed four goals on 15 shots in the opening 20 minutes before being replaced by Jake Allen to start the second. Allen made 19 saves.

The Maple Leafs improved to 6-2-1 against the Canadiens. The teams will conclude the two-game set and season series Saturday night in Toronto.

Matthews has scored 40 times in 49 games, and has found the back of the net in five straight contests. He also has a five-game goal streak against Montreal.

Only one player in Maple Leafs history has reached 40 goals in fewer games, with Frank Mahovlich hitting the mark in 48 games in 1960-61. The 23-year-old Matthews also has the most goals through 49 games of a campaign since Pavel Bure scored 40 in 48 back in 1999-00 with the Florida Panthers.