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Auston Matthews becomes fastest US-born player to reach 50 goals

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Auston Matthews scored his 50th and 51st goals of the season in his hometown to become the fastest U.S.-born player to reach 50 and help the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the crumbling Arizona Coyotes 6-3 on Wednesday night.

Matthews’ milestone goal came on a power play 5:01 into the game, his 54th game of the season — making him the fastest player to score 50 in a season since Mario Lemieux did it in 50 games in 1995-96. Wayne Gretzky holds the record, scoring his 50th in his 39th game for Edmonton in 1981-82.

Matthews scored off a rebound in the second period to make it 4-2. The 26-year-old center from nearby Scottsdale has nine goals in his last four games and 350 in his career in 535 games.

Matthews and the Maple Leafs sent the Coyotes to their 11th straight loss.

William Nylander also scored twice for the Maple Leafs, who won their fifth in a row — all without forward Morgan Rielly, who was serving final game of a five-game suspension for cross-checking Ottawa’s Ridly Greig for showboating on an empty-net goal. Toronto is 9-0-2 in its last 11 games.

Bobby McMann and John Tavares also scored for Toronto, and Mitch Marner and T.J. Brodie each had three assists. Ilya Samsonov stopped 23 shots. Matias Maccelli, Barrett Hayton and Dylan Guenther scored for the Coyotes.

FLYERS 3, BLACKHAWKS 1

CHICAGO (AP) — Travis Konecny, Travis Sanheim and Garent Hathaway scored, Samuel Ersson made 22 saves and Philadelphia beat Chicago.

Philadelphia is 5-1-1 in its last seven games. Chicago, last overall in the NHL, has lost 10 of 11.

Colin Blackwell scored for Chicago. Arvid Soderblom stopped 30 shots.

The Flyers’ puck-control attack and stingy defense limited Chicago’s chances. Philadelphia allowed 40 shots Saturday in a 6-3 outdoor loss to New Jersey.

BLUE JACKETS 7, DUCKS 4

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Yegor Chinakhov scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period and Columbus blew a four-goal lead before rallying to beat Anaheim.

Sean Kuraly got his second goal of the night 49 seconds after Chinakhov’s score for Columbus, which finished its three-game California trip with two victories. Boone Jenner had two early assists and got an empty-net goal with 32 seconds left for his fifth goal in five games.

Zach Werenski scored two goals in the first period and Johnny Gaudreau ended his 17-game goal drought for the Jackets, who snapped their five-game losing streak against Anaheim.

The Ducks trailed 4-0 before they tied it up in an 11-minute burst to close the second period, with Mason McTavish getting two of the four goals. Alex Killorn made it 4-4 with a short-handed goal 24 seconds before the second intermission.

SABRES 3, CANADIENS 2

MONTREAL (AP) — Alex Tuch scored short-handed to break a second-period tie in Buffalo’s victory over Montreal.

Zemgus Girgensons and Jeff Skinner also scored and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 29 saves to help the Sabres improve to 25-27-4. Skinner has 27 goals against the Canadiens, the second-most among active players behind Alex Ovechkin (38).

Arber Xhekaj and Jayden Struble scored for Montreal and Sam Montembeault made 20 saves. Montreal has lost three straight and five of six to fall to 22-26-8.

___ AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

The Associated Press