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Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews scores goals 50, 51 in 54th game

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By jeenmediaa



Auston Matthews scored his 50th goal of the season Wednesday night in the Toronto Maple Leafs star’s hometown return, becoming the fastest NHL player to reach that mark in 28 years.

Playing his 54th game of the season, Matthews scored 5:01 into the game on a power play to give Toronto a 2-0 lead over the Arizona Coyotes at Mullett Arena. He added his 51st — giving him 350 career goals in 535 games — late in the second period for a 4-2 lead.

The Maple Leafs went on to win 6-3.

“It’s great. It’s a small step in the long season, but obviously coming to play at home and playing a team that has had our number for the last couple of seasons … it was a good win, a good effort, everybody contributed,” Matthews said. “I’ll take the two points and get back at it tomorrow.”

From nearby Scottsdale, the 26-year-old center first scored Wednesday night on a shot from the circle to the left of goaltender Karel Vejmelka. Mitchell Marner and Timothy Liljegren assisted on the goal that came with Arizona’s Michael Carcone in the penalty box for slashing. Matthews then scored off a rebound in the second period.

“We had a couple of power plays and were kind of able to snap it around. I just tried to get open, and [Marner has] the puck and he’s got a great sense of where I am on the ice and vice versa,” Matthews said. “We just try to push ourselves to be the best that we can be individually and the best teammates we can be.”

Mario Lemieux achieved the milestone in 50 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1995-96. The fastest was Wayne Gretzky, who got his 50th in his 39th game for Edmonton in 1981-82 on his way to a record 92 goals.

Matthews broke a tie as the fastest to 50 goals among U.S.-born players; he shared the previous mark with Kevin Stevens at 62 games, Stevens having set it in the 1992-93 season and Matthews having matched it in 2021-22.

Matthews has nine goals in his past four games, having two consecutive hat tricks before a single goal against St. Louis on Monday night. He has 15 multigoal games through 55 team games, tied for the fifth most through 55 team games in NHL history and the most since Alexander Mogilny had 17 through 55 team games in 1992-93.

Florida‘s Sam Reinhart is second in the NHL this season with 39 goals.

Matthews had 60 goals two seasons ago to lead the NHL, making him the first to reach that mark since Steven Stamkos had 60 in 2011-12. The last players to score 70 or more in a season were Teemu Selanne and Mogilny, who each had 76 in 1992-93.

Matthews’ goal pace continues to accelerate, as he is now on pace for 76 this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He could become the third player in NHL history to record a 75-goal season with a Canadian team, joining Gretzky (Oilers) and Selanne (Winnipeg Jets).

Matthews is the fourth active player with multiple 50-goal seasons (Alex Ovechkin 9, Leon Draisaitl 3, Stamkos 2), and second in Maple Leafs history to do so after Vaive (3).

ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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