Auston Matthews scores twice to hit elusive 60-goal mark

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Auston Matthews joins Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin as the only active NHL players to have a 60-goal season under their belts. (Getty)
Auston Matthews joins Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin as the only active NHL players to have a 60-goal season under their belts. (Getty)

With two goals against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night, Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews became the first NHL player in a decade to hit the 60-goal mark, and just the third active player to do so — joining Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin on the exclusive list.

Matthews is also just the fourth player to bury 60 since the 1995-96 season, when Jaromir Jagr scored 62 for the Penguins.

Matthews, who entered the contest with 58 markers on the year, was able to get his 59th with less than five minutes remaining in the second period to give his Leafs a 1-0 lead.

Then, just past the five-minute mark of the final frame, he was able to wire a wrister from the top of the circle over the glove of Alex Nedeljkovic to give him 60 on the season.

Despite the great campaign Matthews has had, he found himself in a bit of a rut coming into this game, especially for him, failing to find the back of the net in his previous five contests. He was able to snap out of it in a big way in this one, however, and will look to carry his great season into the playoffs.

As I'm sure you're aware, the Leafs have failed to advance past the first round since 2004. That streak won’t be easy to snap as they are set to face the two-time defending Cup champs in Tampa, but with how well Matthews has played this season, it's certainly hard to bet against him ending Toronto's playoff funk sooner rather than later.

Matthews, who last season became the first Maple Leafs player to lead the NHL in goals since Charlie Conacher in 1935-36, looks poised to win back-to-back Rocket Richard trophies as the NHL's leading goal-getter — which would be one more rare feat under his belt and another first in Leafs franchise history.

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