Auston Matthews scores 59th and 60th goals in Leafs win

By: Neil Becker

Another unbelievable chapter was written in what has been a truly historic season for Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews.

Matthews, who has set various franchise records including breaking former captain Rick Vaive's record for goals in a season, drew numerous ovations on Tuesday night after hitting the 60 goal plateau in a 3-0 win at Scotiabank Arena against the Detroit Red Wings.

Displaying that elite skill-set, Matthews scored with under five minutes left in the second period his 59th goal before history was made early in the third when he scored number 60 which were followed by loud MVP chants.

Heading into this game Matthews hadn't scored in his past five games. During the first period, he had plenty of chances as it seemed like only a matter of time.

Prior to Matthews, the last player to hit the 60 goal mark was Tampa Bay Lightning star forward and current captain Steve Stamkos who reached that mark in April during the 2011/2012 season.

It was truly a historic night for Matthews who joins such legends as Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, Mario Lemieux, Phil Esposito, Alex Mogilny, Jari Kurri, Temmu Selanne, Bernie Nichols, Steve Yzerman, Alex Ovechkin, Lanny McDonald, Dennis Maruk, Guy Lafleur, Steve Shutt, Mike Bossy, Pavel Bure, Reggie Leach, Jaromir Jagr and Luc Robitaille as the only players to score 60 or more goals in a season. 

Two other positive signs from this win against Detroit was the return of defenceman Jake Muzzin who returned after missing six games to injury and the strong play of starting goalie Jack Campbell who on the strength of 20 saves earned his fifth shutout of the year.

Also, with the win Toronto clinched second in the Atlantic Division which means they will get home ice advantage for their first round series which will be more than likely against the back to back defending Stanley Cup champions Tampa Bay Lightning.

Toronto came into action looking to sweep the Red Wings in their regular season head to head matchups. The Leafs, who had outscored the Wings by a 22-15 margin in their first three games got a big break on Tuesday night as Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin wasn't playing.

Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic was red hot on this night as he faced 24 Leafs shots after two periods and only allowed Matthew's first of the two goals.

Following a scoreless first period, Matthews got that all-important first goal when at the 15:48 mark of the second, he received a Jason Spezza pass from in close and scored to give Toronto that 1-0 lead.

A little over four minutes into the third period, Leafs captain John Tavares doubled the lead as he scored his 27th goal and 391 st. of his career which tied him with Hockey Hall of Famer and current Montreal Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis.

Shortly afterwards with the Leafs on the power play, Matthews reached that 60 goal plateau when from the high slot at 5:49 he wired a hard shot which went over Nedeljkovic's glove.

The Leafs now have only one regular season game remaining which takes place on Friday night with a 7:30 opening faceoff at Scotiabank Arena against the Boston Bruins.

Afterwards it's onto the Stanley Cup playoffs. 




          1st Period                                                        DET  -    TOR

         NO SCORING


         2nd Period                                                         DET -   TOR

        15:48  Auston Matthews (59)                                0    -      1

        Jason Spezza (10), Colin Blackwell (6)


       3rd. Period                                                          DET  -   TOR

        4:03  John Tavares (27)                                        0    -     2

       William Nylander (29), Ilya Lyubushkin (11)


       5:49 PPG- Auston Matthews (60)                            0   -       3

       William Nylander (30), Morgan Rielly (38)