In a year where Alex Ovechkin seemed to set record after record like clockwork, another tenacious goal scorer has joined him in the NHL history books. Toronto’s Auston Matthews scored twice in the Maple Leafs’ 3-0 win over Detroit on Tuesday, eclipsing the 60-goal plateau in the process.
Per ESPN Stats and Info, Matthews became just the third player this century to score 60 goals in a season, joining Ovechkin and Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos. Matthews is the first U.S.-born player to score 60 in a season.
Ovechkin scored 65 back in the 2007-08 season, which still stands as the highest goal-scoring campaign since Mario Lemieux scored 69 in the 1995-96 season. Stamkos scored exactly 60 in 2011-12.
Tuesday’s shutout over the Red Wings was Toronto’s penultimate game of the season, so unless Matthews provides a masterful five-goal performance on Friday against the Bruins, Ovi’s record will stand. Matthews joins an elite list, still, becoming just the 21st player ever to score 60 in a year.
Ovechkin was just 22 years old when he scored 65 during that MVP season in 2007-08. Stamkos was even younger, eclipsing the mark during his age-21 season. Matthews turned 24 back in September.
Matthews’ 60 strikes on the year pace the NHL and lead Washington’s captain by 10, as Ovechkin just tied the all-time record with his ninth 50-goal season last week in Las Vegas. The Capitals have two games remaining before on a postseason adventure. Their opponent has yet to be determined, but it will either be Florida or the New York Rangers. Toronto has also clinched a playoff spot.