Storylines to follow in mouthwatering Original Six matchups on Wednesday

Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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Auston Matthews (34)
Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Auston Matthews’ hot streak

Auston Matthews has been playing at a whole different level this year and his brilliance has been a big factor behind the Toronto Maple Leafs’ red-hot start to the 2020-21 season. The uber-talented star leads the entire NHL in goals with 11, he’s scored in his last eight consecutive outings and he also has a league-leading five game-winning goals to his name.

Matthews has also elevated his defensive play to a whole new level, winning 53.5 percent of his draws, racking up 19 hits and 11 blocked shots and he’s hitting hard on the forecheck, playing down low and helping his defense to retrieve the puck, picking off passes and stripping pucks while he has also added a new layer of consistency to his game.

Basically, Matthews has been playing at the peak of his powers right now and 58 goals in his last 82 games should tell you all you need to know when it comes to just how dominant and lethal he has been. So, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if the center were to make it nine straight games with a goal tonight.

However, the Montreal Canadiens have also been one of the best teams in the NHL this year, and a lot of their success is down to a defense that is ranked 7th in Goals Against Per Game (2.50). They’ve been getting solid goaltending from Carey Price and particularly Jake Allen, while they boast one of the most formidable and powerful top four defensive pairings in the entire National Hockey League.

Shea Weber and Joel Edmundson are one of the best shutdown pairs out there, not to mention incredibly physical, while Ben Chiarot and Jeff Petry have developed good chemistry and the latter is attracting early Norris Trophy buzz with 14 points (6 G, 8 A) in 12 games, so Auston Matthews may well have his work cut out for him tonight when it comes to lighting the lamp with the same ease as he has done over this recent stretch of dominance.