Matthews ties Leafs record for goals in season

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10:04 PM ET

Auston Matthews owns a piece of Maple Leafs’ history, hitting the 54-goal mark on Monday to tie Rick Vaive for the franchise’s goal-scoring record.

The 24-year-old scored a hat trick against Tampa in Monday’s game to pull even with Vaive’s single-season benchmark. Vaive’s 54-goal record has stood for over 40 years, from the 1981-82 campaign (which was also, incidentally, the highest-scoring season in modern NHL history).

Matthews previously joined the Leafs’ elite group of 50-goal scorers when he hit the plateau against Winnipeg on March 31. In Toronto’s 104-year history, only three players before Matthews had ever notched 50: Vaive, three times in the 1980s, Gary Leeman in 1990 and Dave Andreychuk in 1994.

Perhaps most impressively, Matthews needed just 63 games to score his 54th goal. He had already recorded the fastest 50-goal season since 1995-96. The last player to hit 50 at the same point in their season as Matthews did this year was Alex Ovechkin in 2007-08. And on the road to 50, Matthews was scoring at a blistering pace that included at least one goal in 31 of 45 games leading up to the feat.

Now he’s on track to set an entirely new franchise-best in Toronto, one he could continue building on this year and maybe surpass in seasons to come.

Matthews won his franchise’s first Rocket Richard Trophy in last year’s COVID-19 shortened campaign, on the strength of a 41-goal showing in 52 games. He previously scored 47 goals in 70 games the year before.

He’s been battling Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl to secure a second consecutive Rocket title. As Matthews sits at 54 goals, Draisaitl is right behind him with 50.

Source: ESPN NHL


Author: Ellen Garcia