Auston Matthews' transcendent season reached one of its highest peaks yet Tuesday night. The Toronto Maple Leafs star scored his 60th goal of the year against the Detroit Red Wings, making him the first U.S.-born player and only the third active NHL player in the 60-goal club.
The goal made Matthews Toronto's first 60-goal player as no NHL player has scored 60-plus since Steven Stamkos in 2011-12. Matthews, who also has 46 assists this season for 106 points, joins Alex Ovechkin as one of only two active players with at least 60 goals and 100 points.
Only Matthews, Stamkos and Ovechkin have reached 60 goals over the past 25 years. Matthews got to the 60-goal milestone the fastest among the three, as it took him 73 games compared to Ovechkin (76) and Stamkos (82).
Matthews, a six-year pro, who's spent his entire NHL career in Toronto, scored his historic 60th goal at the 5:49 mark of the third period. The 24-year-old California native fired a wrist shot past three Red Wings defenders to give Toronto a 3-0 lead it would hold onto until its victory.
That wasn't Matthews' only highlight-worthy play of the night. A period earlier, Matthews beat Red Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic with a nifty backhand to open the game's scoring.
Tuesday's game benefitted Matthews' legacy and Toronto's playoff chances. The Maple Leafs locked themselves into second place in the Atlantic and secured home ice in the first round with their 3-0 win. Now, with one regular-season game remaining, Matthews and the Maple Leafs will direct their sights toward the Stanley Cup.