Knee Jerk Reaction: We’re running out of things to say about Auston Matthews
Photo credit:© John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
By Alex Hobson1 month ago
I mean…what do you even say at this point?
Auston Matthews, two games, two hat-tricks to open the season. A lot of things have to go right in a 7-4 win, but how do you focus on anybody but the guy who scored his fourth, fifth, and sixth goals of the season?
Not only did his performance lead the Maple Leafs to their second straight win to open the season, but he became one of only five NHL players ever to score a hat trick in each of their first two games of the season. I talked about him the last time I wrote one of these knee jerk pieces, and once again, he’s not giving me anyone else to talk about.
Matthews kicked off the game converting on a pass from Mitch Marner.
His second goal wasn’t as clear, initially credited to John Tavares, but it was eventually awarded to him. For what it’s worth, Tavares has five assists through these first two games, so I’m sure he’s doing okay.
His final goal was one of those moments where you just sit back and bask in the fact that, throughout all of eternity to date, you happen to be alive during a time where you have the pleasure of watching Auston Matthews play hockey. He collects the puck behind the net, pulls off a slick wraparound, and scores their sixth goal of the game to deliver insurance in the best possible way.
At this point, I’m not here for the debate that he’s not the greatest Leaf to ever exist. Look past the fact that the TEAM (in capital letters) hasn’t had much playoff success since he’s been in the league. We’re talking about a guy whose career low for goals in a single season is 34. He’s scored at least 40 goals in five of his seven NHL seasons so far, all while earning nominations for the Selke Trophy. The Leafs have never had such a dominant goal scorer in their history to begin with, and the fact that he’s strong defensively is icing on the cake.
Kids…never let anyone tell you otherwise. You’re alive to witness the performance of the best player to ever play for a 106-year-old franchise. There are going to be bad days much like there are good ones, but in a grander outlook, the Leafs have a generationally special player on their hands, and at this point, there’s not much else to say.
Side note, I want to give a shoutout to Ryan Reaves, who clearly understands the assignment. Two games, two fights, and eight hits in two games to open the season is more than what I think people were expecting from Reaves, even though that’s precisely why he’s here. While we can judge the numbers on his contract all we want, his energy and presence on that team is something that likely has an impact beyond what we see on TV.
If you haven’t picked up on it already, this is going to be a series going forward here at The Leafs Nation. If you just finished watching the game, have something to say and want a place to say it, these knee jerk reactions are for you. I was going to put this part at the top of the piece, but Matthews had other ideas.
What’s your knee jerk reaction to the Maple Leafs’ 7-4 win over the Minnesota Wild? Sound off in the comments below!
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