Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews scored his 60th goal of the season Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings, becoming just the third player this century to reach the milestone.
Only Washington’s Alex Ovechkin (65) in 2007-08 and Tampa’s Steven Stamkos (60) in 2011-12 have reached the mark in recent memory. Matthews also became the sixth 60-goal scorer in the last 30 years and the 21st player in NHL history.
During a power play in the third period, Matthews swung up toward the Red Wings blue line, barely keeping the puck onside, before eluding the defender, circling back and firing a wrister from the high slot that beat Alex Nedeljkovic high to the glove side.
“It’s not the end of the world but it doesn’t mean I don’t want it,” Matthews told Sportsnet’s Shawn McKenzie during the second intermission of Tuesday’s game about reaching or not reaching 60 goals, when he was sitting at 59.
Matthews, who was born in California and raised in Arizona, snapped a five-game goal-less slump when he scored No. 59 in the second period.
Brett Hull is the only American to score more than 60 goals in a season. He did it three consecutive times at the beginning of the 1990s.