Auston Matthews continued to show his sense of occasion by reaching the 50-goal plateau in front of friends and family at Mullett Arena in Arizona. It took him 53 games plus a few shifts to do it. 

Matthews became the fastest active player to score 50 goals (54 games) and the fastest player overall since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96 (50 games). He is the 47th player in NHL history to score 50+ goals more than once, and he joins Rick Vaive as the second in Leafs history to score 50+ more than once. He is the first since Jeremy Roenick in 1992 to score his 50th as a visiting player in his hometown. He broke his previous record of 50 goals in 62 games and became the fastest to score 50 of any American-born player in NHL history.

Matthews also hit #50 this season before anyone else in the league broke 40 (Sam Reinhart is currently second in league scoring at 39). He now sits at #51 after an ugly late-second-period goal in Arizona:

The Scottsdale native scored #50 on his offside in the offensive zone on the power play, an area he told the coaching staff he wasn’t comfortable playing when he first entered the league as a rookie due to his lack of confidence in his one-timer. Now, Matthews is ripping one-timers (14 one-timer goals this season alone) and fooling goaltenders with deceptive releases like tonight’s from that area of the ice routinely.

Scoring four times in one game as a debuting 19-year-old and 40 goals in a Calder Trophy-winning season seemed like a high bar to surpass already when Matthews first arrived in the league back in 2016-17, but he’s continued to add layer upon layer upon layer to his goal-scoring repertoire with each passing season.

When Matthews scored 60 in just 73 games in 2021-22 — something only Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos had accomplished post-2000 — you again wondered just how #34 could possibly top it. He scored 50-in-50 that season, the first to do it since Mario Lemieux in 1996-97. It was the most goals in a single season in Leafs’ history and the fourth most points in a single season in Leafs’ history, while also finishing top-10 in Selke votes (he also finished first amongst forwards in takeaways).

When MLHS’ Zach Payne recapped Matthews’ Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award-winning 2021-22 season, he finished the piece with the following exclamation point:

From every conceivable angle, this was a truly special, unforgettable season from Auston Matthews. The reality that should be exhilarating for Leaf fans and terrifying to the rest of the league: This probably isn’t even his final form yet.

Well, Matthews is now on pace for 76 goals in 2023-24, the most since Teemu Selanne and Alexander Mogilny both scored 76 in the 1992-93 NHL season.

At this point, who could possibly bet against him?