Last year, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews had what was considered an underwhelming 2022-23 NHL season. In total, Matthews scored 40 goals and added 45 assists for 85 points in 74 games played.
For the majority of the players in the league, that would be a stellar season, but for the Toronto Maple Leafs star, it was considered to be a disappointment after coming off his Hart Trophy MVP season in 2021-22 when he became the first NHL player to score 60 since Steven Stamkos did it a decade ago in 2011-12.
Added to the fact that the Leafs ended up losing to the Florida Panthers in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last season, Matthews vowed to be a man on a mission heading into the 2023-24 NHL season.
Don’t look now, but Matthews appears to be back with a vengeance, as he has been off to a crazy, blazing start after just two games into the season.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Auston Matthews Proving Last Season Was a Fluke
Matthews has become the fifth player in NHL history to score back-to-back hat tricks to start the season. Not only that, but it has also been the different ways he has been depositing his goals that make it that much more impressive.
Everyone knows he has his patented wrister/snapshot from the slot that he uses to perfection, but it has been his moves down low and in tight that has garnered a lot of attention in his recent goals. Adding that to his already potent arsenal of goal-scoring has now made Matthews even more deadly for opposing goalies.
With his six goals on 13 shots, Matthews has almost single-handedly won Toronto its first two games of the season, as it more than made up for the shaky goaltender seen so far by starter Ilya Samsonov who has given up an unsettling nine goals to date.
Quite frankly, Matthews is definitely out to show the world that last season’s sub-par performance happens to be just a fluke, as the deadly Matthews is now back, better than ever. This will certainly be bad news for whoever the Leafs will face in the coming games, as a hot and angry Matthews will literally be unstoppable. (All stats from hockeydb.com).
He may not be able to sustain such a scoring rate for the entire season, but one thing is for sure, Matthews is out to re-capture his Rocket Richard Trophy once again this season, along with hopefully the biggest trophy of them all by the season’s end.