AUSTON MATTHEWS SCORES FOUR GOALS IN NHL DEBUT
It was the kind of performance that worked well in the age of Twitter. Matthews, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft and a potential savior for the rebuilding Toronto Maple Leafs, shredded the archrival Ottawa Senators for four goals in his first NHL game, establishing a modern-day rookie record. Social media buzzed with every successive goal, and the lasting image of Matthews spiritually undressing super-defenseman Erik Karlsson on his second goal lent credence to the belief this was no one-off. The Sens ended up winning 5-4 in overtime, but Matthews had thrust his spear into the earth.
As the season went on, the Arizona native staked his claim to the Calder Trophy by taking on more responsibility as a center and finishing with 40 goals for the playoff-bound Leafs, breaking the franchise record for goals by a rookie (34 by fan-favorite Wendel Clark in 1985-86). Not to be left behind, No. 2 pick Patrik Laine notched a hat trick against Matthews and the Leafs in the first matchup between Toronto and Winnipeg.