Despite a slow start and missing a few games after late offseason wrist surgery, Toronto Maple Leafs superstar, Auston Matthews is creeping towards the NHL goal scoring lead.
Matthews now sits second in the NHL with 20 goals in 27 games. He’s tied Washington Capitals legend, Alex Ovechkin, and in now just three goals behind Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers. (stats from Hockey-Reference.com)
Auston Matthews won last season’s Maurice Richard trophy by leading the NHL with 41 goals in 52 games despite suffering through a wrist injury for the majority of the season.
Matthews became the first Toronto Maple Leafs player to win the Maurice Richard trophy since the award was introduced in 1999. A Toronto Maple Leafs player hadn’t won the goal scoring title since Gaye Stewart in 1945-56.
Matthews and the Maple Leafs elected for a late offseason surgery to attempt to repair the sniper’s wrist which resulted in Matthews missing the entirety of training camp and the first three games of the regular season.
As expected after a wrist surgery, Auston Matthews had a very slow start to the season for someone of his caliber. He was goalless in his first three games and only had one game in six games during the month of October.
Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews Creeping into Scoring Lead
Auston Matthews started to heat up during the month of November with eight goals in 14 games including a two goal game against the Boston Bruins. That’s a 46 goals pace over 82 games which is amazing for most players but still below usual Auston Matthews levels.
From November 26th to December 7th, Matthews went on a seven game goal streak scoring nine goals including a two goal game against the Columbus Blue Jackets and a hat trick against the Colorado Avalanche.
After going scoreless against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Matthews has scored another three goals in his last two games including his two goal game against the Edmonton Oilers. In his last 10 games, Auston Matthews has 12 goals, and so far in December, he has 9 goals in 7 games.
He may not continue his goal-per-game pace for the rest of the season, but if he can at least continue to roll with the goals, Auston Matthews will pass Leon Draisaitl for the NHL goal scoring lead very soon on his way to his first official 50 goal season.
This year may even be Auston Matthews first 60 goal season. We still have two-thirds of the season left to play though and anything could happen.