WATCH: Matthews hits double-digit goal plateau with slick deflection past Gibson

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews scored his team-leading 10th goal of the 2021–22 season during the second period of Sunday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks.

The 24-year-old forward deflected a long shot by TJ Brodie past Ducks goaltender John Gibson to give the Maple Leafs a 1–0 lead at the 7:48 mark of the middle frame.
Michael Bunting picked up the secondary assist on Matthews’ goal. Matthews is the second Maple Leafs player to hit the double-digit mark in goals this season, joining team captain John Tavares (who also has 10).
Here’s the video of the goal, as posted to Twitter by the verified Toronto Maple Leafs account:

3 games3 goals for @AM34 #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) November 29, 2021

Matthews now has goals in three consecutive games and is on pace for his fourth career 40-goal season.
The Leafs currently lead the Ducks 2–0 late in the second period. Bunting extended the lead just four minutes after Matthews’ opener with his sixth goal in a Toronto sweater.

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Author: Mike Gould / The Leafs Nation

Auston Matthews is shooting his shot, differently

Two truths can co-exist when it comes to Auston Matthews’ start to this season:
He remains one of the most talented hockey players in the world
He has, by his established standards, had a slow start to his season in the goal-scoring department
The second point is not meant as a criticism: just an observation based on facts. Matthews’ eight goals through 18 games are the second-lowest totals of his career to this point of a season, just two goals ahead of his rookie campaign.

So why the slow start? Is it just poor luck or something more? Matthews had surgery on his wrist late in the offseason which resulted in him missing all of training camp plus the first three games of this season. While missing training camp could have had some impact on Matthews through the first few weeks of the season, what I’d like to focus on in this piece are some changes to his shooting habits that may suggest some mechanical limitations are still lingering and impacting his shot.
Shot Selection
While Matthews is as shot-happy as ever this season, posting the highest shots-per-60 and shot attempts-per-60 of his career, his shot quality is slightly lower …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

LISTEN: Matthews sends love to Tavares, teammates after scoring in Los Angeles

Auston Matthews loves scoring — and those who help him to score.

Moments after scoring his team’s fourth goal (and his eighth of the 2021–22 season) in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 6–2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday, Matthews took the time to express his admiration for captain John Tavares — who recorded the primary assist on the marker — and his teammates.
Matthews played with a live microphone attached to his uniform during Wednesday’s game. The NHL on TNT broadcast shared ice-level audio of Matthews’ post-goal cheer from late in the second period in Los Angeles.
Here’s a clip of Matthews’ goal and subsequent celebration, as shared to Twitter by @TicTacTOmar:

Auston Matthews mic’d up for his goal
“I love you Johnny! I love you boys!”
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 25, 2021

Matthews scored at the 13:16 mark of the second period on Wednesday, with Tavares and TJ Brodie picking up the assists. Alexander Kerfoot, Pierre Engvall, Tavares, Jason Spezza, and Michael Bunting also tallied for the Leafs in the victory.
Toronto improved to 14–6–1 with the win and currently sit in second place (behind only the Florida Panthers) in the NHL’s Atlantic Division with 29 points.
Matthews, …

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Author: Mike Gould / The Leafs Nation

WATCH: Matthews scores two quick goals, including game-winner, in second period against Boston

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews put forth his third consecutive two-point offering in Saturday’s 5-2 win over the Boston Bruins, scoring back-to-back goals in the second period to help put his team over the top.

Matthews entered Saturday’s game with three goals and six points in eight contests, a relatively slow pace for somebody who scored 41 goals in only 52 games last season.
He looked like his usual self in the second period on Saturday. Matthews scored his first goal of the game with his Leafs tied 1-1 against the Bruins, cashing in on the power play with 5:01 remaining in the middle frame to give his team its first lead of the hockey game.
Mitch Marner fed Matthews all alone in front with a perfect backhand pass after a broken zone entry. Matthews couldn’t receive the pass cleanly but ultimately managed to corral the puck and swat it into the net after it initially bounced off his skate and hit Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark in the pad.
Marner picked up the lone assist on Matthews’ fourth goal of the season.

No. 4⃣ for @AM34!
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) November 7, 2021

Matthews struck again with just …

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Author: Mike Gould / The Leafs Nation

Auston Matthews scores 200th NHL goal to open scoring in Carolina

Auston Matthews is finally on the board.

The 24-year-old centre scored his first goal of the 2021–22 season — and the 200th of his National Hockey League career — in Monday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Matthews entered Monday’s game with zero points in his first three contests of 2021–22. Michael Bunting picked up the lone assist on the goal, which gave the Leafs a 1-0 lead at the 3:25 mark of the first period.
With former Toronto teammate Frederik Andersen between the pipes for the Hurricanes, Matthews picked up the puck at the Carolina goal line and carried the puck behind the net before tucking it past the goaltender on a wrap-around move.
Here’s the video of the goal, as posted by the official Toronto Maple Leafs Twitter account:

Papi puts home No. 2⃣0⃣0⃣#LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) October 25, 2021

Matthews is the 14th player to score 200 goals in a Maple Leafs sweater. He took just 338 games to accomplish the feat, becoming the second-fastest player to do so for Toronto (Charlie Conacher scored 200 goals in 317 games with the Leafs).
The Maple Leafs currently lead the Hurricanes by a 1-0 score during the first period.

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Author: Mike Gould / The Leafs Nation

Auston Matthews graces NHL cover for second time in three years

Auston Matthews is back on the cover of an NHL game.

Back again @AM34 is your #NHL22 cover athlete!
Pre-order now
— EA SPORTS NHL (@EASPORTSNHL) August 19, 2021

This will be the second time in three years where Matthews has appeared on the cover of EA Sports’ NHL game.
“I grew up playing the game and it’s really special to be on the cover in general, and to be on it again, I’m still just as excited.” Said Matthews in a video from the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Twitter account.
Matthews joins Jonathan Toews and Alex Ovechkin as the only players who have been NHL cover stars twice.
“It’s a huge honour.” Said the 23-year-old. “Being on the cover not once, but twice, is truly humbling.”
There have been some fans who are upset about Matthews being on the cover of the game again. But really, who else could you ask for? Sure there have been plenty of players from the Tampa Bay Lightning who are deserving, yet Matthews is different.
Winner of the Rocket, one of the best goal scorers in the world, and if not the best right now, …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Auston Matthews’ career-defining season — Staturday Weekly Column #17

What a year this has been for Auston Matthews, eh? He has been atop the league’s goal scoring charts for the majority of the season, and has had the Rocket Richard trophy locked up for a few weeks.
But this season has been about more than just goals; Matthews has finally shed that expectation of being poor defensively that so often comes with elite, young offensive talent. In Toronto, we’ve had our fair share of goal scorers being poor defensively, so it almost feels natural to expect Matthews to be a detriment to the team in his own zone. However, this year, that narrative is changing.
Today, we’re going to look into Auston Matthews in two specific respects: goal scoring, and defensive play. One is certainly sexier than the other, but both are important for a star center to take their team to higher heights. As the Leafs attempt to reach those heights, both of these skills will be necessary for Matthews to lead this team forward.
Phenomenal Goal Scoring
We’ve all seen Matthews score some incredible goals in his NHL career already. Most recently, this one that made  Ben Chiarot question if playing in the …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Auston Matthews ends it for the Maple Leafs – Rate That Leafs Game

Wow. What a game. Auston Matthews finishes it off with a beautiful goal in an overtime win for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Once again, Connor Hellebuyck had an amazing performance shutting out William Nylander on a number of chances, but did get one to go by the reigning Vezina Trophy winner.
This was by far Nylander’s best game of the season and one of the best for the Maple Leafs. Being able to fight back after having the lead and then losing it shows how much they’ve grown in the past year. With the likes of Joe Thornton and Jason Spezza, Toronto has matured a lot.
And yet, for some reason, I have not because I’m dancing around with my computer chair in this video. I hope you enjoy!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Campbell and the Leafs shut out Oilers offense in 4-0 win

No Matthews, no problem. With their star centre out, there was concern about how the Leafs would match up against Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and they apparently matched up well still, as they shut out the Oilers in a 4-0 win, thanks to a Jack Campbell 30 save shutout and two point performances from Mitch Marner and John Tavares.
The first period was scary to start, as it seemed like every time Connor McDavid was on the ice, he had a chance to score, but Jack Campbell and the team in front of him held strong. The Leafs would break the ice later in the first on the power play, when Mitch Marner did his thing and skated around with the puck for a while before setting up Nylander for an absolute snipe to make it 1-0.

— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 28, 2021

They quickly added to their lead too, as Marner would cash in again with a goal off a solid rush up the ice from Tavares to make it 2-0, and would give Mitch his 10th goal of the season already.

— Omar (@ …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Leafs split another series and that’s okay

No Matthews. No Thornton. No Robertson. No problem. Well, they didn’t make it look that easy. The Leafs were significantly helped by a strong outing from Freddie Andersen, who held the Oilers to two goals. The Leafs were certainly helped by Nylander, who was carrying the Leafs through the early part of the game, and setting up Jimmy Vesey for the goal that made tonight seem like winning was a real possibility.
Yes, the Leafs won, and with a 4-2-0 record, they appear to be on track for the season we want them to have. In reality, they have not made it look like they know what they are doing at any given in the season, and perhaps for a team that had a short camp and a number of a new faces, and now is plagued with injuries, expecting them to be dominant is too much to ask.
Tonight the Leafs depth was the most encouraging takeaway. The recently scolded Pierre Engvall didn’t look bad in his third line center role after being called out by Sheldon Keefe at the end of training camp. Adam Brooks picking up his first NHL goal was certainly memorable, but …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation