AUS­TON MATTHEWS SCORES FOUR GOALS IN NHL DEBUT

The Hockey News - - The First Word -

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.

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