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Knee Jerk Reaction: You’ll never guess who scored his 60th goal tonight

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Photo credit:Sportsnet/@TicTacTOmar on X/Twitter
Alex Hobson
19 days ago
It’s a shame that Auston Matthews had to go ahead and take the spotlight away from Ilya Samsonov, who was going to be the subject of this piece for his 34-save shutout and efforts shutting the door. Selfish, selfish player. We get it buddy, you scored 60 goals. You already did that two years ago. Try something new.
In all seriousness, let’s take a moment to reflect on how momentous this occasion was. For the second time in his career, Matthews scored his 60th goal in a single season, and to make matters even more impressive, he became the only active player in the NHL to accomplish that feat (insert Happy Gilmore joke here). It’s wild to consider this as a fact, especially considering Alex Ovechkin is also currently playing hockey, but it shines a light on the type of talent the California-born, Arizona-raised Toronto superstar is. Oh, he also became only the ninth player in NHL history to accomplish this feat. Go look up how many players have played in the NHL in their entire history.
I’ve probably written three or four knee jerks after Leafs games when Matthews did something ridiculous where all I can muster together is “I don’t have much to say about this guy except, wow”. And that reins true once again tonight. You can say whatever you want about the team’s playoff failures or the ongoing Stanley Cup curse, but the pleasure of being able to watch a player hit 60 goals twice before he turns 27 after years of watching a team of Leafs players struggle to even sniff 40 has to ease the pain a little bit. Hell, when I was ten years old, Phil Kessel led the team in POINTS with 55. And now we’re witnessing a top-line centre outpace that in goals alone.
Not to be deprived of his flowers is Samsonov, who made a tremendous case to be the Leafs’ starting goaltender for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with arguably his best performance of the season. Not just because of the volume of saves he made and the “0” next to the opposing team, but the quality of saves, too. There were multiple times the Leafs gave the puck away and made life harder on their goaltender than it had to be, but he was there to shut the door every time, sometimes in highlight-reel fashion.
There really isn’t much else to say about the game that won’t be overshadowed by Matthews’ 60th goal, so I’m going to keep this one tight. All I can say is, if you’re a Leafs fan, especially a younger one who never got to witness a shred of success before the first round win last year, enjoy what you’re witnessing right now with Matthews. It’s unlikely that there will be another player who does that for this franchise in our lifetimes.

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