Matthews scores the 60th goal of the season for the Maple Leafs

auston matthews became the first American-born player in NHL history to score 60 goals in a season when he scored two for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 3-0 win against the Detroit Red Wings at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday.

“It was very special,” Matthews said. “Just the reception from my teammates, the crowd, everything, it just sends a chill through the bones, but it’s a little hard to put into words.

“It means a lot. How close we are in this locker room. It’s like a family there, a brotherhood, so it means a lot to have their support and reaction from them, that’s all.” about.”

The 24-year-old center, who was born in San Ramon, California, is the first NHL player to reach the milestone in a decade. Steven Stammos he scored 60 for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2011-12.

Matthews scored No. 59 at 3:48 p.m. of the second period in front of a broadcast from Jason Spezza from behind the net. It was Matthews’ first goal in six games, ending his longest drought of the season.

Video: [email protected]: Matthews hits a backhand in Game 1 for his 59th

He scored No. 60 at 5:49 of the third period on the power play from the high slot.

“He’s special, he’s unique, he’s rare. I’m really happy for him,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. “He works extremely hard. You know the skills he has, but he works extremely hard on his game. He works extremely hard off the ice. He takes his craft very seriously, so to see him at the top of his game reaching these milestones, it’s outstanding.” .

With the victory, the Maple Leafs secured second place in the Atlantic Division and home ice for the First Round of the Eastern Conference of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They will face either the Lightning or the Boston Bruins.

“It’s extremely difficult to do, obviously,” Stamkos said Tuesday. “He’s making it look pretty easy with the way he can shoot the puck and score goals. He probably took it a little near the limit for his comfort…Amazing player, amazing goalscorer and a guy who’s going to score a goal”. much more in this league. It looks like we can see it in a week, so we’re going to have a lot of work ahead of us, but obviously it’s a big milestone for a very good player.”

Matthews surpassed Rick Vaive for the most goals in a season in Maple Leafs history when he scored No. 55 in a 4–3 win against the Dallas Stars on April 7. He then scored number 56 in overtime of the same game to set the record for most goals in a season by an American-born player in NHL history, surpassing Kevin Stevens (1992-93 with the Pittsburgh Penguins) and Jimmy Carson (1987-88 with the Los Angeles Kings).

He scored two goals in his next game against the Montreal Canadiens on April 9. Matthews did not score in the next three games, then missed three games due to an undisclosed injury before returning on Saturday in a 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers. He didn’t score on Sunday against the Washington Capitals.

Matthews is the 21st player in the NHL and the third active player to score at least 60 goals in a season. The other active players to do so are Stamkos and alex ovechkin of the Capitals (65 in 2007-08).

Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky share the NHL record for most 60-goal seasons with five each.

“Pretty unreal”, Maple Leafs captain John Tavares saying. “Obviously a lot of love from the fans and a great way to do it, a beautiful goal… I know I’m being biased, but for me (the race for the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player ) it is not”. close. Just the way he does it, the way he does it, the consistency, some of the things he’s done, sometimes you keep shaking your head. Just his ability to stay with it and play his game and stay focused on what he does. He just wants to make a difference in the game in and out of the game.”

Independent correspondents Dave McCarthy and Corey Long contributed to this report.

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