Toronto Maple Leafs: Matthews makes NHL history in Red Wings win

Morgan Rielly #44, Auston Matthews #34, Nazem Kadri #43, John Tavares #91 and Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Morgan Rielly #44, Auston Matthews #34, Nazem Kadri #43, John Tavares #91 and Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs continued their record-setting start to the new season, with a 5-3 win against the Detroit Red Wings.

Everyone knew the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ offense would be good. However, did any expect it to be this prolific?

Through five games, the Leafs have averaged five goals per contest, to total 25 on this young season. Even allowing for the fact most of the teams closest to them have played a game less, they’re still seven goals ahead of their nearest contender.

Whether the Buds can keep up this level of productivity is open to debate, but fans will enjoy it for however long it lasts. And the fun continued on Thursday night, in Detroit.

The Leafs secured a 5-3 win over the Red Wings, in another high-scoring affair. (As good as their offense is, their defense has been just as bad in allowing a league-high 20 goals entering Friday’s games.)

More from Toronto Maple Leafs

And leading the way was Auston Matthews, who scored twice and was awarded the game’s First Star. The young superstar has been sensational through five games, with a league-high nine goals and 12 overall points.

It almost proved to be a night for the record books, where Matthews was concerned. He became the 12th player in NHL history, to record multiple points in each of his team’s first five games of the regular season.

More impressively though, the Leafs’ star player became the youngest NHL player to ever achieve this, at the age of 21. The record was previously held be a certain Wayne Gretzky, set at the age of 22 during the 1983-84 campaign.

And this isn’t even the first time there’s been a comparison/connection between Matthews and Gretzky this season. In the previous contest against the Dallas Stars, Matthews and John Tavares became the first pair of teammates to each score six goals in four games, since Gretzky and Luc Robitaille did it for the Los Angeles Kings in 1988-89.

Talking of Tavares, while he didn’t score a goal on Thursday night, he did have his first four assists of this young season, to take him to 10 points overall. This puts him level on points with Mitch Marner.

In this respect, the Leafs have the four top point scorers in the NHL, with Morgan Rielly being the other teammate. Amazingly for a blue-liner, he is tied at the top with Matthews, on 12 points.

In the process, Rielly also finds himself entering the record books. As reported by the Score’s Sean O’Leary, he is the highest-scoring defenseman in the NHL’s modern era through five games. (The modern era started in 1943.)

In setting the new mark, the 24-year-old surpassed the legendary Bobby Orr. The Hall of Famer scored 11 points during the first five games of the 1973-74 season.

Even allowing for an almost inevitable drop in consistency, you have to wonder how many more records Matthews, Rielly and company can set during the 2018-19 regular season? Regardless, the Leafs’ next opponent will be an intriguing test for them, as they face the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals on Saturday night.

Next. Partner Kapanen with Matthews regularly. dark

What impressed you most in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ win against the Red Wings on Thursday night? How long do you expect them to keep their current rate of offensive production up for this season? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.