Matthews scored Toronto's only goal Friday in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Capitals for Game 5. The Calder Trophy finalist wasted little time tracking down a rebound that originated from a William Nylander shot, driving it home at the doorstep. It's easy to forget that this kid is just 19 years old; he already plays like a star veteran, and increased his playoff numbers to four points (three goals, one assist) heading into Sunday's due-or-die contest at home.
Matthews is Toronto's first Calder Trophy finalist since goalie Felix Potvin was named in 1992-93, the Toronto Star reports. As noted in the report, the Buds haven't enjoyed the services of the league's top rookie since 1966, when forward Brit Selby took home the honors. Matthews continues to revel in the limelight as the first overall pick in the 2016 draft, producing a team-high 69 points (40 goals, 29 assists) in a full regular season, and keeping the Leafs in tight with the Presidents' Trophy-winning Capitals in the active conference quarterfinals. The Calder voting is based on play during the regular season, with Matthews' teammate Mitch Marner -- he had 19 goals and 42 assists in 77 games -- also in consideration for the hardware next to Jets phenom Patrik Laine, who managed 64 points and a plus-7 rating on a team with a minus-7 goal differential. Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski is also in consideration, but Matthews is said to be the odds-on favorite for the Calder.
Matthews scored a first-period goal during Monday's Game 3 win over Washington. Toronto fans hope this was the first of many postseason tallies for their franchise pivot. While Matthews was a little snakebit through the first two games of the series, he remained dangerous in all situations, and the results showed up in Game 3. With the floodgates open, Matthews has the upside to score in bunches.
Matthews scored an empty-net goal in the third period of Saturday's 5-3 win against the Penguins. Matthews became the fourth rookie in NHL history to net 40 goals in a season before his 20th birthday, joining Dale Hawerchuk, Mario Lemieux and Pierre Turgeon in the record books. The Big Cactus also will be making his first appearance in the postseason, as the Leafs clinched the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with the victory.
Matthews set a new franchise record for goals by a rookie when he sniped his 39th of the season Monday night in a 4-2 win over Buffalo. He now holds the franchise rookie record for both goals (39) and points (67). With one more goal, Matthews could be just the second rookie in the last two decades to score 40 goals. Alexander Ovechkin had 52 for the Caps back in 2005-06. Matthews' goal also tied another Leafs rookie record by scoring in five consecutive games. One word: Wow.
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