In the past few weeks, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been absolutely dominating the NHL competition, due to Auston Matthews’ insane performance. Matthews has 18 goals in 18 games and is silencing every critic who doubted him before this season.
Auston Matthews Continues His Hot Streak
Last night, Matthews scored twice to extend his NHL lead in goals to 18 and extended his point streak to 16 games as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-3.
Both teams got comfortable after a scoreless first period, with both teams virtually deadlocked in scoring chances. It wasn’t until a 5-on-3 power play when Matthews sniped his first goal, finishing a one-timer from Mitch Marner that gave Toronto a 1-0 lead at 1:03 of the second period. His second power-play goal of the night helped the Maple Leafs restore a two-goal lead and ultimately put away the Canadians. Matthews picked up two assists on the other Toronto goals in the second period to finish off a four-point evening
“I want to score, but I’ve been trying to do little things that help the team win and put the momentum on our side,” Matthews said. “Just playing that full 200-foot game and competing night in and night out, that’s really all I’ve been looking at, looking for myself to do.”
The NHL hasn’t had a player join the 50-in-50 club (50 goals in 50 games) since Brett Hull did it for the second time with the St. Louis Blues during the 1991-92 season.
Matthews has 18 goals in 18 games. He’d technically need 50 goals in 49 games because he missed one due to a hand injury. The NHL requires a player to accomplish the feat during the team’s first 50 games.
This season, with this level of competition in a not-so-great defensive North Division, it’s doable.
Buzzing Power Play
The Maple Leafs scored on their first three power-play chances against the Canadiens and it was most likely the reason the Leafs won this game. Montreal performed better at even strength on Saturday.
Keep an eye on Andersen
Frederik Andersen made 27 saves to pick up the win after getting the night off on Thursday. In his pregame comments on Thursday, Keefe mentioned that Andersen is dealing with a few things.
Andersen looked groggy and uncomfortable while recovering but stayed in the game. His health is something to keep an eye on.
Andersen is 11-3-2 this year with a .905% save percentage. If the Leafs want to continue their success, Andersen’s strong play must continue. Toronto is one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL and is being constantly bailed out by Anderson’s goaltending.