Auston Matthews was likely denied his first 50-goal season when the 2019-20 regular season ended abruptly due to the pandemic. At the time he already had 47 goals in 70 contests. Similarly, the 2020-21 campaign being limited to 56 games is likely the only thing that will stop him from reaching the 50-goal milestone this time around.
On Thursday Matthews scored his 21st goal in 25 games – and it was an overtime winner to boot. He’s running away with the Rocket Richard Trophy so far. The next best player, Connor McDavid, has 16 goals in 28 contests. Matthews’ goals have been timely too with seven of them proving to be game winners so far. To give that some context, David Pastrnak and Leon Draisaitl tied for the league-high in 2019-20 with 10 GWG and they did so in 70 and 71 games respectively. Matthews is approaching their mark while only playing in a little more than a third as many contests. Let’s look at it another way: Toronto has won 19 games this season, which means that Matthews has scored the winner in 36.8% of them. That’s an unreal pace.
It’s hard to envision Matthews keeping this up, but he’s still the clear favorite to win the goal scoring race.
BOSTON 4 NY RANGERS 0
Jaroslav Halak stopped all 27 Rangers shots to earn the shutout. He has a 6-2-2 record, 1.88 GAA, and .927 save percentage in 10 games.
Mika Zibanejad fired a team-high five shots against Halak. After scoring 41 goals last season, he’s been limited to three goals in 25 contests.
Alexandar Georgiev saved 10 of 14 shots before being yanked early in the second period. Keith Kinkaid stepped in and stopped the 13 shots he faced. Unfortunately for the Rangers, the damage was already done.
Patrice Bergeron had a goal and an assist for the Bruins. He’s up to 10 goals and 24 points in 24 games.
Brad Marchand assisted on three of Boston’s four goals. He has 12 goals and 31 points in 24 contests.
PITTSBURGH 5 BUFFALO 2
Evgeni Malkin scored a goal and registered an assist. The Penguins forward has seven goals and 21 points in 26 games.
Jake Guentzel accounted for the game-winning goal. It was his ninth goal and 23rd point in 26 contests.
Tage Thompson netted a goal for Buffalo. He has a goal and two points in 10 games.
Jonas Johansson kicked out 22 of 26 Penguins shots. He has allowed at least three goals in all five of his starts this season.
At the other end of the ice, Tristan Jarry saved 21 of 23 shots. He has an 11-7-1 record, 3.00 GAA, and .901 save percentage in 19 contests.
NY ISLANDERS 5 NEW JERSEY 3
Noah Dobson scored the game-winning goal. It was his third goal and 12th point in 27 games.
Matt Martin also found the back of the net for the Islanders. He’s up to five goals and nine points in 27 contests.
Jack Hughes found the back of the net for New Jersey. He has six goals and 14 points in 23 games.
Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 29 of 34 Islanders shots. He allowed two goals in each of the first two periods.
Ilya Sorokin saved 19 of 22 shots on Thursday. All three of those goals were surrendered over 10 shots in the third period, but the game ended before the Devils could complete their rally.
WASHINGTON 5 PHILADELPHIA 3
Alex Ovechkin scored a goal 8:37 of the first period to give the Capitals an early 1-0 lead. It was the 715th goal of his career, which puts him just two behind Phil Esposito in the goal scoring leaderboard.
Nic Dowd contributed two goals, including the game winner. He’s up to five goals and seven points in 26 games.
Ilya Samsonov stopped 30 of 33 Flyers shots. He’s won his last three starts and owns a 4-0-1 record.
Travis Konecny netted a goal and registered an assist for the Flyers. He has seven goals and 14 points in 18 games.
Brian Elliott stopped 17 of 21 shots last night. He surrendered two goals on 10 shots in the first period and another two goals on just five shots in the second.
CAROLINA 5 NASHVILLE 1
At the other end of the ice, James Reimer saved 32 of 33 shots. He had a shutout going until 15:28 of the third period.
Nick Cousins scored the shutout-ending goal. It was his third marker and eighth point in 26 contests.
Morgan Geekie scored a pair of goals for Carolina. Those were his first two points of the 2020-21 campaign.
Dougie Hamilton scored a goal and registered an assist. He’s up to two goals and 20 points in 26 games.
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FLORIDA 5 COLUMBUS 4 (OT)
Columbus had a 4-1 lead in the third period, but the Panthers rallied back, starting with a goal from Ryan Lomberg at 6:34 of that frame. Aleksander Barkov netted a power-play goal at 14:26 to tie the game at 4-4.
Frank Vatrano accounted for the overtime winner. He has nine goals and 12 points in 26 games.
Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 28 of 32 Blue Jackets shots. Most of the damage came in the second period when he surrendered three goals on 15 shots.
Elvis Merzlikins saved 27 of 32 shots last night. He dropped to 3-3-2 with a 3.05 GAA and .908 save percentage in 10 games.
TORONTO 4 WINNIPEG 3 (OT)
Auston Matthews scored the overtime winner and registered an assist. He’s up to 21 goals and 35 points in 25 games.
Mitchell Marner also had a goal and an assist for the Maple Leafs. That gives him 11 goals and 37 points in 28 contests.
Frederik Andersen stopped 24 of 27 Jets shots. He’s allowed at least three goals in four of his last five starts.
At the other end of the ice, Connor Hellebuyck saved 34 of 38 shots. He has a 12-7-2 record with a 2.81 GAA and .911 save percentage in 21 contests.
Nikolaj Ehlers scored two goals and registered an assist. That gives him 13 goals and 28 points in 26 games.
DETROIT 6 TAMPA BAY 4
Anthony Mantha scored a goal and registered two assists. That gives him seven goals and 13 points in 27 contests.
Robby Fabbri netted the game-winning goal for the Red Wings. It was his fifth goal and 11th point in 19 games.
Ondrej Palat scored a goal and registered two assists. The Lightning forward has 11 goals and 24 points in 25 contests.
Curtis McElhinney stopped 17 of 22 Red Wings shots. He surrendered three goals on just six shots in the first period.
Jonathan Bernier saved 40 of 44 shots on Thursday. He’s 7-5-0 with a 3.02 GAA and .910 save percentage in 14 contests.
CHICAGO 4 DALLAS 2
Duncan Keith scored the game-winning goal. It was his first goal and ninth point in 28 games.
Carl Soderberg also found the back of the net for Chicago. He’s up to four goals and 11 points in 22 contests.
John Klingberg accounted for one of Dallas’ two goals. That gives him five goals and 17 points in 21 games.
Kevin Lankinen saved 28 of 30 Stars shots. He surrendered two goals on eight shots in the third period, but Chicago held on to secure the win.
CALGARY 2 MONTREAL 1
Jake Allen stopped 27 of 29 Flames shots. He’s 4-3-3 with a 2.28 GAA and .922 save percentage in 10 starts.
Corey Perry netted the Canadiens’ only goal. He has five goals and 10 points in 19 games.
Calgary’s two goals were scored by Josh Leivo. He’s up to three goals and five points in 21 contests.
Derek Ryan assisted on both of those goals. He has a marker and five points in 14 games.
Jacob Markstrom turned aside 17 of 18 shots last night. That ended his run of five straight starts where he allowed at least three goals.