Maple Leafs' Auston Matthews Sets Record for Goals by US-born Player with 56th Score

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 8, 2022

DALLAS, TX - APRIL 07: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) skates during a timeout during the game between the Dallas Stars and the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 7, 2022 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews established a new NHL record for the most goals by a U.S.-born player in a single season with 56 after finding the net twice in Thursday night's 4-3 overtime victory over the Dallas Stars.

Matthews, who also set a new Maple Leafs record with his 55th tally earlier in the contest, netted the OT winner for No. 56:

Toronto Maple Leafs @MapleLeafs

WHO ELSE?!?! <a href="https://t.co/cmhtBnrEuW">pic.twitter.com/cmhtBnrEuW</a>

"This was Auston's night,'' Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe told reporters. "It's much deserved and to finish it with an exclamation point."

Matthews passed Jimmy Carson and Kevin Stevens, who'd jointly held the record for nearly three decades, to set the new U.S. mark.

The 24-year-old California native, who spent most of his childhood in Arizona, has put together a dominant season that's moved him to the forefront of the Hart Trophy conversation as the NHL's regular-season MVP.

His 56 goals lead the league and are six more than his closest competition, Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers. He's added 41 assists to give him 97 points, which rank fifth.

Matthews' success is a major reason the Leafs are on the verge of securing a playoff berth courtesy of their 46-19-6 record. Their 98 points are tied for fourth in the NHL with the New York Rangers.

The center took a moment to recognize his record-setting night, but he mostly kept the focus on Toronto's ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup.

"It means a lot," Matthews said. "The names that have come before us, just to be in the same breath as some as these guys, it's extremely humbling. It's a big honor. But obviously, we're working towards something bigger than this."

The 2016 No. 1 overall pick is only in the midst of his sixth NHL season, but he already ranks 41st on the all-time U.S.-born goal-scoring list at 255. Brett Hull is the record-holder at 741.

Matthews, who's been on a tear lately with 19 goals in his past 15 games, will look to keep that hot streak alive over the final 11 games of the regular season and into the playoffs.

Next up for the Leafs is a home game against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.