Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored his 50th goal Wednesday night in a 6-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes. It is the second time he has reached the milestone in his career, having scored 60 in the 2021-22 season.

“It’s great,” Matthews said after the game. “It’s a small step in the long season, but obviously coming to play at home and playing a team that has had our number for the last couple of seasons … it was a good win, a good effort, everybody contributed. I’ll take the two points and get back at it tomorrow.”

With two goals against the Coyotes, Matthews now has 51 in the 2023-24 season, far outpacing the rest of the league. Everyone else in the top 10 has between 31 and 39, making his 12-goal lead over second place authoritative. He is currently one of four players in serious consideration for the Hart Trophy.

The Maple Leafs have taken full advantage of Matthews’ explosive season and are currently third in the Atlantic Division with a 31-16-8 record. The team is currently on pace to reach the postseason for the eighth straight year.

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Matthews has been Toronto’s leading scorer every year but one since the 2016-17 season, his first in the NHL. He has led the team to the postseason with unflinching consistency but has only made it past the first round once.

“It’s still disappointing with the same result,” Matthews said of the team’s playoff struggles in 2022. “But I think there’s a lot of things that you can take — a lot of positives — from it and move forward. You can’t live in the past.”

With 22 games remaining in the regular season, Matthews has a real chance to break the Maple Leafs’ franchise record for goals in a single season for a second time. His 60 goals in the 2021-22 season stands head and shoulders above any other Toronto player since the team’s inception in 1917. His 51 at this point in the 2023-24 season could easily surpass that total.

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