Matthews Became the Player with the Fastest Season Goal Total of 50 Goals

More quickly than any other NHL player born in the United States, Auston Matthews scored his 50th goal of the season on Wednesday.

The record was set by the Toronto Maple Leafs center, who was playing in his 54th game of the season, at 5:01 of the first period in a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Arizona, which is close to his birthplace of Scottsdale. Toronto took a 2-0 lead thanks to his wrist shot from the right face-off circle to the short side.

The ball then deflected in off his shoulder at the right post for his 51st goal, giving the Maple Leafs a 4-2 lead at 16:07 of the second period.

When asked what this accomplishment may mean to young hockey players in Arizona after the first period, Matthews responded,  “I hope it’s something that they can take and maybe be inspired by, encouraged by. Like I said this morning, it doesn’t matter where you’re from if you dream hard enough, work hard enough, you can make those dreams come true. For myself, I just feel very grateful to be in the position I’m in, and whatever I can do to keep that going, I want to do it.”

Matthews broke his own record of 50 goals in 62 games, which was also held by Kevin Stevens of the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins.

Matthews also became the fastest active player in the NHL to hit the mark, breaking the record of 61 games set by Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers last season.

“I was trying to give him the [puck] the whole first three shifts we had together,” said linemate Mitchell Marner, who assisted on both of Matthews’ goals, “so I’ll probably get yelled at for not shooting a couple of those.”

Wayne Gretzky holds the NHL record as the fastest player to 50 goals. He did it in 39 games for the Oilers in 1981-82.

About five miles from the Tempe arena, Matthews, a lifelong Coyotes supporter, scored 50 goals for the second time in three seasons (he scored 60 goals in 2021–2022). After Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning (two), Leon Draisaitl of the Oilers (three), and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (nine), he is the fourth active player with multiple 50-goal seasons. He is also the ninth-fastest player to reach 50 goals during the previous 35 seasons.

Sportsnet was informed of the achievement by Matthews’ father, Brian, who said,  “It’s an amazing feeling. … It’s just an electric moment for all of us. We know what he goes through, we know what he does in the summer, we’re just real happy.”

 “It’s very fun for him and the family and friends that he had here, a special, special moment. I mean, it’s just incredible.” Toronto player William Nylander remarked.

With 350 goals in 535 games at an average of 0.65 per game, Matthews—the top choice by Toronto in the 2016 NHL Draft—is fifth in NHL history (minimum 100 games). In each of his eight seasons with the Maple Leafs, he has scored at least 34 goals, including at least 40 goals six times.

The 26-year-old is on track to score 76 goals this season and currently leads the League in goals scored since joining the NHL. The last NHL season with at least 70 goals was 1992–1993, in which Teemu Selanne and Alexander Mogilny each scored 76. In his last four games, Matthews has netted nine goals, including a hat trick on Thursday in a 4-3 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Flyers and another on Saturday in a 9-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. On Monday, he scored as well in a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues.

Having won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard award twice as the NHL’s top scorer (41 goals in 2020–21 and 60 goals in 2021–22), Matthews leads the League with six hat tricks this season and has scored 18 goals in his last 14 games. Gretzky set the single-season record twice (1981–1982, 1983– 1984).