NHL | Sixty goals and 16 sticks. Will Matthews make history?


Twenty-six-year-old Matthews is aiming for his third career Maurice Richard Trophy. He won the first one in the shortened 2020-21 year for 42 goals, then defended it with 60 hits in the 2021-22 season and now he has the opportunity to continue the broken thread (Connor McDavid won with 64 pieces last year). Maybe even in the heights, where no one has sharpened for three decades.

In the goal-rich 80s, scoring seventy goals was not such a problem. So if your name was Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, or Jari Kurri or Bernie Nicholls. At the beginning of the nineties, Brett Hull took over from them.

In the 1992-93 season, the entire NHL was abuzz with goal races between Finnish rookie Teemu Selänn from Winnipeg and Russian Buffalo forward Alexander Mogilny. Both stopped at number 76!

Since then, Lemieux in the 1995-96 season with 69 goals and Alexandr Ovechkin in the 2007-08 season scored 65 goals.

“It means a lot to me,” Matthews said in Buffalo, where he rounded out 60 with an easy finish from the crease. “But I think of it more as a team effort.”

Since Matthews stormed into the NHL as the No. 1 draft pick in 2016, the Maple Leafs have had no problem advancing to the playoffs. Six times in a row, however, they were eliminated in the opening round. Only last year they made it to the second round, where they were eliminated by Florida. Toronto will play in 99 percent of the playoffs this year as well.

In the rest of the regular season, however, Matthews could try to make history. Does he have it? Obviously yes. In December, he recorded a streak of seven games in which he scored a total of twelve times. In February, he scored ten goals in five starts.

“For me, he is the biggest candidate for the Hart Trophy,” said Patrik Eliáš, former great Devils striker, to Sport.cz. After all, Matthews also heard chants of “MVP!” during the game in Buffalo.

“I would be very happy if Auston reached that seventy. Preferably this year,” Toronto’s Russian goalkeeper Ilya Samsonov would also like. Matthews could already be closer to his dream goal, but since October he has hit the stick sixteen times, the most of any player in the NHL.

“I also had a lot of chances in the last few games. I tried not to think about it not falling so much and stay focused,” Matthews claimed. “However, the most important matches are not played until mid-April anyway.”

The Maple Leafs have five more games at home and four away before the playoffs begin. “He’s already had a great, incredible season,” coach Sheldon Keefe said of Matthews. The quiet American would certainly like to silver her with the Stanley Cup. But even those 70 goals would certainly not be thrown away.

The article is in Czech

Tags: NHL Sixty goals sticks Matthews history


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