Toronto Maple Leafs superstar, Auston Matthews, was awarded the NHL’s number one star for the month of December.
Due to the large amount of postponed games cause by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 throughout the NHL, Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs only played seven games in December.
Auston Matthews scored 10 goals in seven games including a hattrick against the Colorado Avalanche and two goal games versus the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Edmonton Oilers. His 14 points in those seven games gave him a whopping two points per game average.
Matthews was riding a 10 game point streak which started in late November, but that streak came to an end after the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators on January 1st, 2022.
Toronto Maple Leafs Star Returns to Legendary Goal Pace
Matthews has elevated his game month over month this season. After missing the first three games of the season while recovering from late offseason wrist surgery, Matthews only mustered one goal in his six games in October.
During the month of November, Matthews increased his goal pace with nine goals in 14 games. That’s a 52 goal pace over an 82 game season, which is incredible, but still lower than Matthews’ goal pace over the last couple seasons.
Exploding for 10 goals in seven games in December is phenomenal. I don’t expect Matthews to keep up that pace for the remainder of the season, but it’s great to see him at a legendary pace again.
With 20 goals in 28 games this season, Auston Matthews currently sits behind only Leon Draitsaitl (25 goals in 32 games) and Alex Ovechkin (24 goals in 34 games) for the NHL goal scoring lead. Draitsaitl is currently on pace for an astounding 64 goal season, but if Matthews can continue something similar to his current epic pace, he has a chance to catch him.
After the Toronto Maple Leafs recorded their winningest month in franchise history in November, they went 4-2-1 in December. Times were looking bleak for the Leafs as a bout of Covid ran through the team.
With a number of players in protocol, December could’ve been a lot worse, but the postponement of six games due to the outbreak throughout the league may have helped stop the bleeding.
The extra time off allowed Mitch Marner and Rasmus Sandin to heal from their injuries and return to the lineup. Their game on New Years Day was the first time all season where the Toronto Maple Leafs were able to dress a full forward group without anyone out with injury.
Defensemen Jake Muzzin and Timothy Liljegren were both out of the lineup but are both expected back for Wednesday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.