Matthews' goal proved to be the winner and extended his career-best goal streak to eight games.
Morgan Rielly also scored for Toronto.
''We got away from what's made us successful,'' Kerfoot said. ''They took it to us a little bit. That's credit to them, but we certainly played into their hands.''
Frederik Andersen made 31 saves as the Maple Leafs completed a three-game sweep of struggling Vancouver. Mitch Marner added an assist, extending his point streak to eight games.
''That was an ugly one,'' said Matthews, who also extended his point streak to 10 games. ''Freddie really took control of the game. He was our best player by far tonight, and just kept us in it. Those first two periods, we didn't really have an answer.
''They came with a good push to start, and we just didn't have our best.''
Elias Pettersson scored for Vancouver (6-10-0), which lost in regulation for the fifth straight game and closed out its road trip 1-5-0. Braden Holtby stopped 16 shots for the Canucks.
Vancouver head coach Travis Green said Monday looked a lot more like the team that made the second round of last season's playoffs.
''We played with a lot more urgency,'' he said. ''I don't know if we could have played any better in the first two periods ... probably deserved to be up.
''Sometimes when it's not going your way, that happens. You can play a really good game and not get the result.''
The teams play six more times in the NHL's abbreviated season, with the next meetings set for March 4 and 6 in Vancouver.
Toronto had beat Vancouver 5-1 on Saturday and 7-3 on Thursday. The Maple Leafs are 7-0-1 over their last eight games.
''We didn't really have any business being in that game,'' Matthews said. ''But we were able to stay with it and get the two points.''
NOTES: The Maple Leafs were without winger Wayne Simmonds, who suffered a broken wrist in the third period of Saturday's 5-1 victory. The 32-year-old Simmonds had five goals in his last six games - including two Saturday before the injury.
Canucks: Open a four-game set against the Calgary Flames, including three at Rogers Arena, on Thursday.
Maple Leafs: At Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.
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