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Josi, Matthews Hit Franchise Milestones Years in the Making

Photo by Christian Petersen

Josi, Matthews Hit Franchise Milestones Years in the Making

Thursday evening marked a special night for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Nashville Predators NHL franchises. Both teams saw players hit historical marks never reached before.

For Toronto – an Original Six franchise – it was Auston Matthews who potted his 55th and 56th goals of the season, setting a new scoring mark that has stood for over a hundred years.

And in Nashville, defenceman Roman Josi potted points No. 85, 86 and 87 on the year, moving into sole possession of most points by one player in a single season in Predators history. Incredibly, Josi did so as a blueliner, and has a legitimate shot at 100 points on the season. If so, he would be the first defenceman to reach the century mark since Brian Leetch in 1991-92.

Having now put up 87 points in just 68 games, Josi pulled ahead of Paul Kariya, who managed 85 points back in 2005-06. Crazily, that stat has stood the test of time, until one of the league’s top defenceman opted to single-handedly wipe the slate clean with an historic season. 100 points does not look THAT far away.

Oh right, Josi also has 12 games left to play. We say he does it.

And then there’s Auston Matthews.

Right, that guy.

Now up to 56 tallies on the season, Matthews is operating at an incredible .85 goals-per-game pace.

He has put up 20 shots on goal over his past two games, including a personal best 12 shots Thursday night in Dallas.

He scored the record-breaker on a second period power play off a perfect setup pass from trade deadline acquisition Mark Giordano, before capping off the night with the 4-3 overtime winner on a strong drive to the net. In scoring his 56th, Matthews also passed Jimmy Carson and Kevin Stevens for the most goals by an American-born player in a single season in NHL history.

“Put it right in the wheelhouse, so I tried to attack the puck,” Matthews said of Giordano’s pass on his record-breaking tally. “Just a lot of emotions running through your mind, I guess, and just running through your body when you see the puck go in. I don’t know really what else to say. But it was definitely exciting and a really fun moment. There was a lot of stuff going through my mind.”

More importantly, Matthews beat Rick Vaive’s record of 54 goals in one year for the Leafs from back in 1981-82. According to most, he would have likely done it in each of the past two lockout-shortened seasons, but he has had to wait.

Matthews currently owns a 15-game point streak, to which he has scored an incredible 19 times, while adding 10 assists for 29 points. He sits six goals ahead of Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl in the goal-scoring race, while poised to hit 100 points on the year in the near future. Right now, Matthews is at 97 points, currently placing him fifth in the league, four behind Draisaitl for third place despite having played five fewer games.

Carter Brooks - Associate Editor of Game On Magazine - is a news writer and sports columnist situated in Winnipeg, MB. On top of reading and writing, his favourite pastimes include camping, car-modification projects and coaching hockey. Carter can be reached at or on Twitter at @GameOnHockey.

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