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Matthews scores 2 goals to hit 51 for the season

TEMPE, Ariz. – Toronto centre Auston Matthews has scored his 50th and 51st goal of the season in 54 games in the Maple Leafs’ NHL 6-3 win over Arizona.

Matthews beat Coyotes netminder Karel Vejmelka glove side with a wrist shot with the Leafs on a power play at 5:01 of the first period. Timothy Liljegren and Mitch Marner had assists on the goal.

“It’s great, it’s a small step in a long season,” he said after the win over the Coyotes.

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The goal came as the Leafs led the Coyotes 1-0 courtesy of an opener from Bobby McMann.

He doubled that up in the second period during a four-on-four.

This is Matthews’ fourth straight game with at least a goal, and he has 12 points in five games.

Matthews paid tribute to his linemates for their help in crossing the 50-goal mark.

“We’ve got a great sense for each other,” Matthews said about the assist from Marner. “We try to push ourselves, each other the best we can be individually.”

Matthews has cracked the 50-goal mark in the regular season once before as a Maple Leaf, back in 2021-22 when he finished with 60 goals along with 46 assists.

With the first goal, Matthews became the fastest U.S.-born player to score 50 goals in a season and shattered the previous mark by eight games.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2024.

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