May 22, 2022

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TAMPA – These MVP! The very best participant!” On the Scotiabank Area, the Maple Leafs will solely get louder throughout their subsequent residence sport.

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After a prolific 2021-2022 common season that noticed him rating 60 targets, Leafs middle Auston Matthews was named considered one of three finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy.

Based on members of the Skilled Hockey Writers Affiliation, Matthews’ rivals for the award, given to the participant thought of most beneficial to his staff, are middle Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers and goaltender Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers.

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Through the common season, Matthews usually dominated, turning into the primary NHL participant in 10 years to attain 60 targets, ending with 60 targets in 73 video games.

He went on to make the playoffs within the first spherical in opposition to the Tampa Bay Lightning. With the Leafs main 3-2 and Sport 6 at Amalia Area on Thursday night time, Matthews has seven factors, making him lead the Leafs in scoring with linemate Mitch Marner.

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Not solely did Matthews win the Rocket Richard Trophy for the second yr in a row—he scored 5 extra targets than the Edmonton Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl, who was second—his 106 factors marked the fifth time in Leafs historical past {that a} participant reached 100. milestone. Doug Gilmour and Darryl Sittler have been the one ones to do it twice.

Matthews broke the Leafs objective file beforehand held by Rick Wave, who scored 54 targets within the 1981-82 season.

When Matthews scored his 56th objective, he set the NHL file for many targets scored in a season by a participant born in the US.

Matthews’ 44 tied targets in 2021-22 was essentially the most by a large margin as he had eight extra targets than Winnipeg Jets’ Kyle Connor, who was second with 36, and 10 greater than Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames and McDavid. .

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Matthews scored his sixtieth objective on April 26 in Toronto in opposition to Detroit.

“It is distinctive, it is uncommon, I am simply actually blissful for him,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe stated after that sport. “You realize what his means is, however he works very arduous on his sport, he works very arduous off the ice.

“He takes his job very critically. So to see him on the high of his sport and attain these milestones is an excellent occasion.”

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After all, there’s extra to Matthews’ sport than filling the opponent’s objective. At 6’3″ and 205 kilos, Matthews has realized to make use of his energy to his benefit and his defensive play has develop into elite consequently.

If there’s somebody within the NHL who’s more practical in stealing the puck from different gamers, then he has not but been recognized.

Matthews led the NHL offensive line with 92 tackles, trailing just one NHL chief, Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

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“I used to be at all times amazed, even in his first couple of years within the league, his batting means is unimaginable,” Leafs captain John Tavares stated in April, referring to Matthews. “This can be a expertise that can’t be taught. The intuition to tug it off so rapidly and switch it into an offense…he at all times reads the sport from the proper facet on protection after which his means to strip guys and use his physique to take pucks and go on offense is fairly outstanding.”

On the faceoff circle, Matthews gained 56.2% of his ties, 14th within the league.

Solely two sheets have gained Hart. Babe Pratt was the primary in 1944 and eseven years later, in 1955, Ted Kennedy acquired the award.

tkoshan@postmedia.com

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