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MORE SPORTS | Feb 23

Maple Leafs Auston Matthews Fastest to 50 Goals Since Lemieux

Matthews’ Individual Stats Are Mind-Blowing, but He Still Needs to Perform in the Playoffs to Achieve GOAT Status

Maple Leafs Auston Matthews Fastest to 50 Goals Since Lemieux
Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs | Steph Chambers/Getty Images/AFP

History on Ice 🏒

“He makes it hard on us in practice. He leads by example in games.” -Noah Gregor

In the latest NHL news, Toronto Maple Leafs’ superstar, Auston Matthews, recently became the fastest American-born player to reach 50 goals, doing so in just 54 games and shattering the previous mark of 62 games that he shared with Kevin Stevens.

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Awesome Auston

Quick, who do you think of when someone asks you to name the best hockey player on the planet? My mind immediately leaps to Edmonton’s Connor McDavid or maybe Colorado’s Nate McKinnon. Maybe if given a bit more time I would land upon Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov or Boston’s David Pastrnak.

But Auston Matthews would likely be on my periphery, perhaps because his team perennially chokes in the postseason. Toronto has been ousted from the first round of the playoffs in six of Matthews’ seven years with the team, with the only exception being last season when they were bumped in the second round by the Panthers.


But that’s a big step up from where they were before he was selected first overall in 2016. Toronto was a laughingstock as evidenced by the old joke:

How are the Maple Leafs and the Titanic the same?

They both look great until they hit the ice.

Well, that joke is no longer applicable because they are now routinely one of the best regular season teams since Matthews has donned a Maple Leafs sweater. The 26-year-old phenom is now the fastest U.S.-born player to score 50 goals after just 54 games. Only Mario Lemieux reached 50 goals faster, scoring 50 in 50 games back in 1995-1996.


Matthews now leads the league with 51 goals and has 27 NHL games remaining on the NHL schedule to add to that number. NHL rumors are circulating that he could score 70, maybe even 75 goals before the regular season is through. He’s worshipped by Maples Leafs’ fans and respected by his teammates but his preternatural skills have not transferred to any postseason glory.

Teammate Noah Gregor was asked about Matthews and said, “He’s a great leader. His work ethic is the one thing I’ve noticed — it’s high. He’s always going in practice. He makes it hard on us in practice. He leads by example in games. The way he plays, the way he competes, he is a full 200-foot player, along with being the greatest goal scorer in the league right now.


Matthews is a Hart Trophy candidate this season, essentially the NHL’s MVP Award, and if he does win, it will be the second of his career. He is also a 7x All-Star and was named the All-Star MVP in this year’s game.

In retrospect, Matthews should be one of the very first names that come to mind when considering the very best player in the game. But until he and his boys do anything in the playoffs, this joke still holds water:

What does a Toronto Maple Leafs fan do when his team has won the Stanley Cup?

Turns off his Xbox.

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