On Thursday evening, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews became the first player to reach the 50-goal marker this season. It’s the first 50-goal campaign of his career and in reaching that mark, he becomes the fourth Maple Leaf to achieve such a feat, joining Dave Andreychuk (1993-94), Gary Leeman (1989-90) and Rick Vaive (1981-82, 1982-83 & 1983-84). It took him 62 games to reach 50.
First to 50 goals on the season ☑️
First 50-goal season ☑️
— NHL (@NHL) April 1, 2022
He scored with 2:06 seconds left in the third period of the Leafs vs. Winnipeg Jets game, putting the puck into an empty net and giving the Lefas a 6-3 lead. The Leafs ended up winning 7-3.
That it only took 62 games to reach 50 goals means there’s a chance he hits 60 by the time the season is said and done. He’s currently on pace to do so.
Matthews got showered by his teammates with water when he arrived in the dressing room after the game. He was asked about what kind of legacy will be left behind after reaching the marker and said he’s not worried about it because he’s currently focused on the job he has to do, which is to get the Maple Leafs into the playoffs and make a run. The Leafs haven’t won a first-round series since he joined the roster and he’s looking to change that this season. Head coach Sheldon Keefe said, “As much as he (Matthews) will downplay it, it’s important to recognize it as a special thing.”
10 different U.S.-born players have now hit 50 goals in a single season, the last being Philadelphia’s John LeClair in 1997-98.
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