The Toronto Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews scored a goal in Thursday’s game. That goal added to his team’s 5-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens and helped push the Maple Leafs to an eight-point North Division lead over the second-place Edmonton Oilers. By the way, that’s the biggest lead the first-place team has over the second-place team in any NHL division this season.
What Makes Matthews’ “Meaningless” Goal So Meaningful
Back to Matthews’ goal. In itself, Matthews’ scoring prowess is getting redundant; but, in this case, redundant is something very special. Often Matthews scores a game-winner; and, in fact, he leads the NHL with 12 game-winning goals. Tonight’s goal was “meaningless” in terms of victory or defeat; however, what made it crucially important was that it was Matthews’ 40th goal of the season.
What Makes Matthews’ Goal So Difficult this Season
And that 40th goal, according to Maple Leafs’ captain John Tavares, was simply “incredible.” It’s also amazing, ridiculous, unbelievable, and a surprise – especially given that Matthews was playing with a wonky wrist for much of the season that actually changed the way he had to shoot. It’s also incredible given the shortened and condensed season where every NHL team plays many games in few days. Rest seems hard to come by, and practices seem few and far between.
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Still, Matthews flourishes on the ice. Obviously, the wrist injury is a thing of the past. He seems to be especially potent against this Canadiens’ team. In fact, he scored seven goals in the nine games the Canadiens and the Maple leaves have played each other This season. He’ll get another chance on Saturday night to add to his total.
For Matthews, the 23-year-old scoring machine has now totaled 64 points in only 49 games during the 2020-21 regular season. A case can be made that Matthews is already the most gifted goal scorer of the past two seasons, and smart money bets that he’s going to get stronger every season as he matures. He’s simply the best goal-scorer in the game.
Tavares Finds it Hard to Believe How Easy Matthews Makes Scoring Look
During the video below, it’s clear to see that captain John Tavares is in disbelief at how Matthews makes scoring ‘look so easy.’ Obviously, he says it aloud; however, perhaps even more telling is his demeanor. As he’s talking, he simply keeps shaking his head back and forth as if he can’t believe what he’s saying.
Most of Tavares’ praise isn’t pointed at Matthews’ innate skills; instead, Tavares points to Matthews’ work ethic and preparation for the season. As Tavares says in the video, after he’s asked about Matthews’ ability, the one word he lands on is “incredible.”
In 30 Seconds, Tavares Wraps Up Matthews’ Skill and Drive for Greatness
Tavares notes, “Incredible. He (Matthews) makes it look so easy.”
Tavares adds that it’s “unreal to watch and you know it’s a testament to him and his work ethic. Obviously, his skill set is exceptional and one of the best in the game.”
Tavares adds that Matthew is “so incredible” that he “should be celebrated.” He also “deserves all that recognition” because, as Tavares notes “at this level, in this League, it’s extremely hard to score. So, to do it as often as he does (and be) as consistent as he is and dominate as he is extremely impressive.”
The Old Prof (Jim Parsons, Sr.) taught for more than 40 years in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. He’s a Canadian boy, who has two degrees from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate from the University of Texas. He is now retired on Vancouver Island, where he lives with his family. His hobbies include playing with his hockey cards and simply being a sports fan – hockey, the Toronto Raptors, and CFL football (thinks Ricky Ray personifies how a professional athlete should act).
If you wonder why he doesn’t use his real name, it’s because his son – who’s also Jim Parsons – wrote for The Hockey Writers first and asked Jim Sr. to use another name so readers wouldn’t confuse their work.
Because Jim Sr. had worked in China, he adopted the Mandarin word for teacher (老師). The first character lǎo (老) means “old,” and the second character shī (師) means “teacher.” The literal translation of lǎoshī is “old teacher.” That became his pen name. Today, other than writing for The Hockey Writers, he teaches graduate students research design at several Canadian universities.
He looks forward to sharing his insights about the Toronto Maple Leafs and about how sports engages life more fully. His Twitter address is https://twitter.com/TheOldProf