Wednesday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Anaheim Mighty Ducks 2-1 in overtime, while playing perhaps their most dominant game of the season.
During what had to be on of the best games of his career, superstar Auston Matthews became just the third player in franchise history to record eight 30-goal seasons. At 5v5, Matthews' line had the puck 75% of the time, and overall, he attempted 20 shots individually, getting 13 on net. (naturalstattrick.com).
The former first round pick completely took the game over, and ended up scoring the game winner in overtime on his 13th shot of the game to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to victory.
Matthews joins former captains Darryl Sittler and Mats Sundin to hit the milestone and like Sittler, he registered them all in consecutive seasons.
Auston Matthews Joins 2 Franchise Greats During Best Game Ever
Sittler who was drafted eighth overall by the Maple Leafs back in the 1970 draft fell short of 30 by just two goals during the 1972-73 season, however hit that mark right up until he was traded midway through the 1981-82 season in what many believe was the worst trade in franchise history.
Sundin, who is commonly referred to as the greatest Maple Leaf of all-time, has the record of ten 30-goal seasons and started his journey after he fell short his first year with the club due to the lockout shortened 1994-95 season when he collected 23-goals in 47 games. The Swedish captain would be unable to string together the same amount of high profile scoring seasons as Matthews due to playing through the dead puck area, but had put together two separate streaks of four and five consecutive seasons.
Matthews has been the most prolific scorer since he joined the league in 2016-17 collecting 329 goals in just 516 career games. The next closest goal scorers are Alex Ovechkin (305 goals in 543 games) and Leon Draisaitl (303 goals in 564 games).
What is Next on the Horizon for Matthews?
The two-time Rocket Richard Trophy winners 30-goals in 35 games puts him on pace for 69-goals to finish out the season. So, the next thing on the list is for Matthews to extend his franchise record of most 40-goal seasons as he has already hit that mark five times over his career.
There was some excitement that Matthews could make a stab at 50 in 50, however he has fallen slightly off the pace and would need to have an incredible 15 games to get him close. Even if he can't reach the elusive 50 in 50 club, which is already in, barring an injury, he will still finish with his second 50-goal season and join Rick Vaive as the only players in franchise history reaching that goal total in multiple seasons.
The bigger question is if he can keep his goal scoring pace up for the remainder of the year and become just the ninth player in league history to have multiple 60-goal seasons.
While going deep in the playoffs is the ultimate goal, the goal scoring race is fun and entertaining during the regular season.