For most players, notching two goals and an assist in a shutout victory over the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions would be the highlight of their career. For Toronto Maple Leafs’ centre Austin Matthews, it was just another night at the office.
Matthews and his Toronto teammates dominated the Tampa Bay Lightning from start to finish in Monday night’s matchup, winning 5-0 and taking a 1-0 series lead against the defending champs.
Matthews, part of a small but growing contingent of Hispanic NHL players, has been nothing short of incredible since he was drafted by the Maple Leafs with the first overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. The 24-year-old has already appeared in five NHL All-Star Games and twice won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, awarded to the player who scores the most goals during the NHL’s regular season.
As one of the NHL’s storied “Original Six” franchises, Toronto hopes to win its first Stanley Cup since the league expanded in 1967. Considering the way Matthews and his teammates have been playing, they just might.