Good morning!

Yeah, that’s right, Auston Matthews shares the league lead in goals with Alex Ovechkin, the greatest goal scorer of all time. Both of them have 40, Matthews having done it in 55 games, while Ovi got to that number in 53 games. At the same time, Matthews has 11 more points than Ovi so six of one.

Let’s see how Matthews got all his goals (league rank):

  • 5v5 = 25 (1st)
  • PP = 10 (6th)
  • 6v5* = 3 (1st)
  • 5v6* = 2 (22nd)/
*These are empty net goals aggregated to include weird game states like 6v4 and 5v4+EN.

Matthews leads the league in 5v5, even strength, and all situations goals, plus he is tied for first in goals with an empty net behind him.

Matthews is prolific on the power play, but his domination has come at even strength more than anything else. He compares with Ovechkin in that category, who has 22 5v5 goals and 28 at even strength. Shockingly, Ovi only has 12 power play goals this season, five back of David Pastrnak for the league lead.

Matthews has been so dominant at evens that has as many 5v5 goals as the next highest scoring player (William Nylander) has total goals. This is almost the same for Ovi, who has one fewer 5v5 goal than the next closest player on his team, Jakub Vrana, has total goals (23).

Looking at Evolving Wild’s expected goals, Matthews has outpaced himself massively. If he were an average shooter, he’d have in the neighbourhood of 13.85 goals at 5v5 this season. Remember that he actually has 25, almost double. Funnily enough, he sits fifth in the league in expected goals for, right ahead of teammate William “Perimeter” Nylander in sixth. Right behind Willy is, you guessed it, Alex Ovechkin.

Of course, Matthews and Ovi have a handful more than Nylander’s 17 5v5 goals, but that’s because they are both unicorn, unreal, out-of-this-world, amazing shooters. Among players who have skated more than 600 minutes at 5v5, both are in the top-30 in shooting percentage. Matthews 17th shooting 16.2% and Ovi 30th shooting 14.6%.

A lot of players on that list you don’t really believe to be having anything more than a lucky year, but you can definitely convince yourself Matthews and Ovi are there on merit. Matthews, for example, shot 13% at 5v5 last year and still scored 23 goals in 68 games. He’s averaged shooting 15.1% over his four-year career while the league average is about eight.

Auston Matthews is an unbelievably rare offensive talent and it’s so amazingly great that he’s a Toronto Maple Leaf.

Leafs Branches

  • So the Leafs won last night. Check out the recap from Seldo ft. Omar here. For some reason, Seldo had the url include “MDZ is a dick.” Okay./

Recap: Maple Leafs need OT to get past the Ducks, the new guys were fine

  • We have an article out on who the “New Kings on the Block” are (that was going to be the preview headline until we changed it) that I’ll link to below, but I’ll also throw in a piece from Anthony Petrielli at MLHS that I thought was really good as well./

Maple Leafs introduce Kyle Clifford and Jack Campbell
Analyzing the Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford acquisitions: Kyle Dubas moves to save season at risk | Maple Leafs Hotstove

  • With Morgan Rielly recently joined by Cody Ceci on the injured reserve — that pair is back together again! — the Leafs called up Timothy Liljegren from the AHL. He had a good second NHL game that you can read about in the recap above. Katya wrote an article weighing the internal and market options for defensemen as we head down the stretch. This includes salary cap talk and the Kane Loophole. /

Are the Leafs trading for a defender or looking within?

  • Last Leaf thing, I wanted to spotlight this go-ahead goal by Jason Spezza. Man, it brought me right back into my childhood and almost threw me back in my old NHL04. Back then, I played with the Sens because I loved the Heatley-Spezza-Alfredsson and the Leafs were old and garbage. I may have traded for Sundin in career mode in those days. Don’t yell at me, I didn’t know there was a rivalry! This goal feels like it was ripped straight from my controller and it brought some amazing nostalgic feelings back. Vintage. /
  • Not Leafs, but I watched the end of the Toronto Raptors vs Indiana Pacers game last night and, my word, the Raptors are everything I dream the Leafs to be one day. So professional and disciplined, deep and talented, and most importantly well coached. That last part was for the Marlies. Oh, and they win. Here’s the recap from their 13th win in a row. /

Raptors take some bumps, but still knock off Pacers 115-106