With the 2019-20 regular season officially over, Auston Matthews misses out on scoring 50 goals in a season and a Toronto Maple Leafs record.
As Gary Bettman declared that the 2019-20 regular season has come to a close, Matthews finishes the season with 47 goals and 80 points. While that was good for the team lead in scoring, you can’t help but wonder what could have been.
Considering there were still 12 games left on the Leafs schedule, it’s safe to say Matthews could have scored three goals to reach 50 for the first time in his career. Not only that but it would have been interesting to see if he could have made a serious push to either tie or beat Rick Vaive‘s single-season record of 54 goals.
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Not only would it have been nice to see Matthews make a push for 50 but he was also only once game back of Alex Ovechkin and David Pastrnak for the league lead in goals. Instead, Pastrnak and Ovechkin will be co-winners of the Rocket Richard Trophy.
Seeing Matthews produce like he did and remain relatively healthy, minus a minor wrist issue that luckily didn’t force him to miss any games, was a big bonus for the Leafs this season. Now the question is how will he respond when the playoffs roll around.
We know the Leafs sniper has been in quarantine with goaltender Frederik Andersen and you have to think the two have been doing workouts together. The duo probably hasn’t had access to a rink to do skating or shooting but you have to think they have been trying to fill the void with comparable exercises.
The Leafs will need Matthews to lead the way against a tough Columbus Blue Jackets team that will give Toronto a tough time considering they are among the top defensive teams in the league. At the same time, the Leafs have more than enough firepower and hopefully a motivated Matthews who will look to make up for some lost time.
Do you think Matthews would have scored 50 goals and challenge the Leafs single-season scoring record? Will he be the difference-maker in the playoffs? Let us know in the comments below.