Auston Matthews scores 60th goal of season in Maple Leafs win over Sabres

By Sportsnet Staff and The Associated Press

Toronto forward Auston Matthews became the NHL’s first two-time 60-goal scorer in 30 years in the Maple Leafs’ 3-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.

Matthews matched the franchise record he set when he led the NHL in goals two seasons ago. The 26-year-old joins a group of eight NHL players to have multiple 60-goal seasons, and first since Pavel Bure had back-to-back 60-goal campaigns with the Vancouver Canucks in 1992-93 and 1993-94.

He’s also the only active player to accomplish the feat. Connor McDavid, David Pastrnak, Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin have all done it once.

Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy lead the list with five 60-goal seasons.

Matthews did much of the work in setting up the goal by chasing after Buffalo defenseman Bowen Byram, who lost his stick while trying to track a puck dumped into the Sabres end. Matthews’ first attempt was stopped by Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. The Maple Leafs worked the puck back to the point where Connor Timmins’ shot was stopped by Luukkonen with Matthews sweeping the loose puck into the open left side to cap the scoring.

Though a road game for Toronto, the stands were filled with a large contingent of Maple Leafs fans, who began chanting “MVP! MVP!”

The goal came in the same arena where the Maple Leafs selected Matthews with the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft.

Matthews also hit the 60-goal plateau in the 2021-22 season, when he finished with exactly 60.

Ovechkin holds the record for goals in the salary cap era when he scored 65 in 2007-08.

Captain John Tavares scored the opening goal in his 1,100th NHL game, and Nicholas Robertson also scored in helping the Maple Leafs maintain their hold on third place in the Atlantic Division.

Ilya Samsonov stopped 34 shots and posted his third shutout of the season and 13th of his career. Since Jan. 21, he’s gone 15-3-1 and allowed a combined 46 goals.

It was a much different outing since Samsonov’s last start in Buffalo, when he questioned his mental state in being yanked after allowing five goals on 19 shots in the Sabres eventual 9-3 win on Dec. 21.

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