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By The Numbers: Matthews unstoppable as Maple Leafs surge

Auston Matthews Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews - The Canadian Press

Auston Matthews is on a tear. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs superstar has posted 10 goals in his past five games pushing his projected goal total over 75 for the season.

The 26-year-old already held the lead in the Rocket Richard race prior to the All-Star break with 40 goals in 46 games - a 70-goal pace. Over the past two weeks, he has pulled away from the field to own a 13-goal lead in the goal-scoring race as he looks to become just the second player in history to win the Rocket more than twice. 

Matthews was held in check in the first four games after being named MVP at the All-Star Game on home ice, posting two goals in four games after the break. He then caught fire with back-to-back hat tricks against the Philadelphia Flyers and Anaheim Ducks to close out last week.

He's taken his dominance on the road this week, extending his goal streak to five games, including a two-goal performance against his hometown Arizona Coyotes Wednesday. His success has timed up with the Maple Leafs enjoying one of their best stretches of the season with six straight wins and an 7-2 record since the All-Star Game.

Matthews Game Log - Since Feb. 5

Opp Result Goals Assists Points
VGK W 7-3 1 0 1
ARI W 6-3 2 0 2
STL W 4-2 1 1 2
ANA W 9-2 3 2 5
PHI W 4-3 (OT) 3 0 3
STL W 4-1 0 0 0
OTT L 5-3 1 1 2
DAL W 5-4 1 1 2
NYI L 3-2 0 1 1

Can Matthews top 75-goals?

The NHL has not seen a player hit the 70-goal mark in more than 30 years, but it's possible Matthews could even go further than that this season.

Alexander Mogilny and Teemu Selanne both posted 76 goals in the 1992-93 season, the last time the league saw anyone top 70. 

Amid his current stretch, Matthews has pushed his projected goal total to 76 goals. That would blow past the cap-era record of 65 set by Alex Ovechkin in 2007-08, which Connor McDavid fell just short of last season with 64. 

While there have been 14 70-goal seasons in history, only eight players have ever hit the mark with Matthews looking to join the exclusive group this year.

NHL 70-Goal Seasons

Player Team Season GP  G P
Wayne Gretzky Edmonton Oilers 1981-82 80 92 212
Wayne Gretzky Edmonton Oilers 1983-84 74 87 205
Brett Hull St. Louis Blues 1990-91 78 86 131
Mario Lemieux Pittsburgh Penguins 1988-89 76 85 199
Alexander Mogilny Buffalo Sabres 1992-93 77 76 127
Phil Esposito  Philadelphia Flyers 1970-71 78 76 152
Teemu Selanne Winnipeg Jets 1992-93 84 76 132
Wayne Gretzky Edmonton Oilers 1984-85 80 73 208
Brett Hull St. Louis Blues 1989-90 80 72 113
Jari Kurri Edmonton Oilers 1984-85 73 71 135
Wayne Gretzky Edmonton Oilers 1982-83 80 71 196
Brett Hull St. Louis Blues 1991-92 73 70 109
Mario Lemieux Pittsburgh Penguins 1987-88 77 70 168
Bernie Nicholls Los Angeles Kings 1988-89 79 70 150

For his part, Matthews told TSN prior to Thursday's game against the Golden Knights that he does not have a specific goal in mind as he charges toward history.

"I just try to focus on one game at a time and just go from there," he said. "I don't really get too far ahead of myself, just try to stay in the moment, focused."

Already with one Hart Trophy from 2021-22 on his shelf, Matthews has surged to hold the second-best odds to win the award at FanDuel amid his current tear.

Matthews (+230) will go head-to-head with current Hart Trophy favourite Nathan MacKinnon (+170) and the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night.