Auston Matthews reaches 100 career goals

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It looked like Auston Matthews scored the 100th goal 8:52 into the second period of Thursday’s game against the Golden Knights, but that tally was ultimately attributed to Patrick Marleau. No big deal; Matthews “corrected” that less than five minutes later with an emphatic power-play goal.

Matthews also ended up scoring his 101th goal as well in this game, generating two goals and one assist overall in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ impressive 6-3 win against Vegas.

With Matthews missing 20 games last season, and being limited to 43 of 57 games so far in 2018-19, it’s tempting to wonder how many more goals Matthews might have … but 100 isn’t too shabby for a 21-year-old.

One nice thing about Matthews’ 100th goal is that it was more typical of his style than the would-be 100th goal that counted.

(You can watch Marleau’s goal here, and you’d probably agree it would have been a little anticlimactic. Sportsnet compiled all 100 of Matthews’ goals, as you can see in the handy video above this post’s headline.)

Beyond the aesthetic value of that milestone goal, it might be interesting to consider Matthews’ career so far, through 101 goals and 187 games. Here’s a breakdown.

187 regular-season games: 101 goals, 84 assists for 187 points, almost a point-per-game. Matthews’ has fired 607 shots on goal, which translates to 3.24 SOG per game.

Through his career so far, Matthews has scored 22 of his 101 goals on the power play, while he hasn’t netted a shorthanded goal yet. That’s less surprising when you realize that Matthews has spent a little less than five minutes of his career shorthanded so far. One can imagine that Matthews’ aggressiveness and IQ could make him a shorthanded breakaway threat, if Mike Babcock ever veers from his current path of using Matthews only at even-strength and on the man advantage.

Before Thursday’s actions, Matthews’ 99 goals ranked him fifth among players since 2016-17, the year he came into the NHL. That comes despite missing all that time with injuries; if you look at goals per game, Matthews’ .53 only trails Alex Ovechkin, who comes in at .55 sine 2016-17.

It’s no surprise that Matthews joins Patrik Laine, Paul Kariya, and even Ovechkin as players who got there so quickly. (Pavel Bure, Eric Lindros, and Teemu Selanne really blazed impressive paths, though.)

Matthews reaching this milestone is quite impressive, and might soothe some of the concerns regarding the $11.6 million cap hit is five-year extension will carry beginning in 2019-20.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.