The Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to be one of the best teams in the NHL this season. After dominant regular seasons in the last handful of years, big things are supposed to come from this group. They haven’t had much success in the playoffs but that is a story for a different day.
Things didn’t get off to a great start for them in their first game against the Montreal Canadiens though as they went down 2-0 pretty early in the hockey game. That is not how any team wants to begin a year in which they are supposed to dominate.
Luckily, they started to come back a little bit and make it a game. Noah Gregor got the Leafs on the board to get them back within one. From there, Toronto’s superstar took over. Auston Matthews tied the game with his first goal of the season.
The cool thing is that this goal was also the 300th of his NHL career. That is an incredibly fast pace to hit 300 goals. It only took him 9 more games than it took Alexander Ovechkin back in the day and now Alex is looking to break Wayne Gretzky’s all-time record. Matthews is also the fastest American to ever reach that milestone.
Auston Matthews had an amazing game for the Maple Leafs on Wednesday.
Matthews is the greatest player in the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs and he still has a lot more to go in his NHL career. He deserves to be celebrated for this milestone.
The funny thing is that Matthews didn’t stop there against Montreal. William Nylander gave the Leafs a 3-2 lead but then the Habs scored three unanswered goals to take a 5-3 lead. It really looked from there like they were going to hang on for the early season upset.
Thankfully, Matthews never gives up. He scored two more goals to complete a hat trick and get the game tied. That is goal 301 and 302 for this guy. It was just an unbelievable effort for him as that is the second Opening Night hat trick in his career (he scored 4 in his NHL debut).
Nothing happened in overtime and Mitch Marner scored the only shootout goal so the Maple Leafs won the game. Matthews’ 300th and hat trick powered an awesome comeback win for Toronto.
Something feels different about his game right now as we start a new year. He was a bit hurt last season and didn’t play like himself. He still managed to have 40 goals which means when you add the 60 he scored the season prior, he has 100 in the last two years.
This looks like a season in which he could get back over 50 again and challenge for 60. Who knows, his ceiling may be even higher than that. Toronto will take it either way. This was a character win for the Leafs and it was all thanks to their best player, #34.