Matthews scores 40th goal of the season for Maple Leafs in 49th game
Auston matthews scored his 40th goal of the season for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday in his 49th game.
The center scored with 4:19 remaining in the third period of a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
“The players you play with mean a lot,” said Matthews. “Experience is important and you gain confidence. I have been fortunate enough to play with very good players and very good teammates during my five years here. Every year just try to improve and improve. push for more. I think that’s a big thing that goes into the plan. “
He is the first NHL player to score 40 goals in less than 50 games since the 1999-2000 season, when Pavel Bure scored his 40th in his 48th game for the Florida Panthers.
During the expansion of the NHL (since 1967-1968), 46 players scored 40 goals in less than 50 games. Matthews has missed four games this season with a wrist injury.
“It’s amazing, he makes it so easy,” said Maple Leafs captain John tavares mentionned. “It’s unreal to watch and it’s a testament to him and his work ethic. His skills are exceptional, one of the best in the game. He should be celebrated and he deserves all of this recognition. At this level, in this league it’s extremely difficult to score, so doing it as often as it does, as consistent as it is, is extremely impressive. “
Wayne Gretzky (Edmonton Oilers, 1983-84) and Alexander Mogilny (Buffalo Sabers, 1992-93) each scored their 40th goal in their 35th game to hold the NHL record.
Frank Mahovlich scored 40 goals in 48 games for Toronto in 1960-61.
Toronto played its 53rd game. There have been 72 players in the Age of Expansion to score 40 goals in his team’s first 53 games.
Matthews has scored 19 goals in his last 19 games, including five in a row.
“I want to score, I want to produce and do these things,” Matthews said earlier. “But I just tried to do the little things that help the team win and put the momentum back on our side. It’s more than just scoring goals. Obviously that’s who I am. here to do, that’s what I wanna do. do, but just play that full 200-foot game, compete at night, at night. That’s all I can hope to do. “
Matthews is nine goals ahead of Connor mcdavid of the Edmonton Oilers to lead the NHL this season. The 23-year-old can become the first Maple Leafs player in 75 years and the first US-born player in 24 years to lead the NHL in goals.
Maple Leafs forward Gaye Stewart scored 37 points to lead the NHL in 1945-46. The last player born in the United States to do so was Keith Tkachuk, who scored 52 for the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996-97.
First pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, Matthews scored 197 goals in 330 games. He scored 47 goals in 70 games last season, one short of the NHL leaders Alex ovechkin Washington capitals and David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins.
He scored 40 goals in 82 games as a rookie in 2016-17 and has never scored less than 34 in five NHL seasons.
Toronto (34-13-6), who qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs, is first in the seven-team Scotia North division.
“I have used a lot of words on him, but there has been so much to say throughout the season,” said Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe. “It’s so great to see him being rewarded offensively because he puts a lot of pressure on himself. He knows he has a big responsibility to produce for our team offensively, and he’s doing it at such a good pace.”
NHL.com editor Mike Zeisberger and independent correspondent Dave McCarthy contributed to this report