The Matthews machine |  The Journal of Quebec

The Matthews machine | The Journal of Quebec

First in the class of the 2016 draft, Auston Matthews was considered a prodigy even before his first appearances on the ice in the Maple Leafs uniform. Almost six years later, the Arizona-native center has already made history in Toronto.

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Matthews had shown signs of a phenom in his first game with the Leafs on Oct. 12, 2016. That night, he scored all four goals for his team in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Senators in Ottawa. .

Now in his sixth NHL season, Matthews has reached 400 regular games. He hit that number during the Leafs’ move to Dallas on Thursday. And he made it big against the Stars by scoring two goals, including the game-winner, in a 4-3 overtime win.

For the American, it was his 55and and 56and country nets. At just 24 years old, he became the most prolific single-season scorer in Leafs history. He broke Rick Vaive’s record of 54 goals, which had stood since 1981-82.

“It means a lot,” Matthews said after the game against the Stars. With the names of these players who were there before us, I remain extremely humbled to find myself in the same sentence as them. It’s a great honour. »

49 in 49

Matthews and the Leafs will now cross paths with the Canadiens for a Saturday night classic between two old rivals.

In his last 49 meetings, number 34 has hit the target 49 times. Even if it is not a recognized mark, like the 50 nets in the first 50 games of the season, he will have the opportunity to achieve a rather rare feat if he threads the needle against CH.

Matthews has nine points (5g, 4a) in his three most recent games.

He’s not the only one driving at breakneck speed in Toronto. Since 1er January, Mitchell Marner leads the NHL in scoring with 68 points (25g, 43a) in 38 games.

Matthews (97 points) and Marner (89 points) could each break the 100-point plateau for the first time in their careers.

The two guns of the Leafs, however, will be under pressure to lead their team to a longer run in the playoffs. Since 2017, Matthews and Marner have always suffered first-round elimination.

Carey Price’s Choice

The day after a 7-4 win over the Devils in Newark, the Habs opted for optional training in Toronto. Only Ryan Poehling and Kale Clague were on the ice among the players who faced the New Jersey club.

Carey Price once again blocked pucks. But Martin St-Louis has made it clear that he will not face the Maple Leafs.

“Carey will let us know when he’s ready,” the CH head coach told colleagues in Toronto. I’ve never been a goalkeeper, I know less about it. We continue to manage his case on a daily basis. »

On the blue line, Jeff Petry could return to action. Petry has not played since March 24 due to a lower body injury. He has missed the last seven games.

Most single-season goals in Maple Leafs history:

  1. Auston Matthews (2021-2022)* : 56
  2. Rick Vaive (1981-1982): 54
  3. Dave Andreychuk (1993-1994): 53
  4. Rick Vaive (1983-1984): 52
  5. Rick Vaive (1982-1983): 51
  6. Gary Leeman (1989-1990): 51

* Season still in progress

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