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Matthews ties Ovechkin for most goals in cap era at 65 as five games remain


Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews netted his 65th goal of the season Monday on the power play in a 3-2 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

With the goal, Matthews tied Washington Capitals future Hall of Famer Alex Ovechkin for the most goals in a season in the cap era. Ovechkin hit the 65-goal mark in 2007-08, while Connor McDavid fell just shy of the feat last season, finishing with 64.

Matthews also set up Jake McCabe for the overtime winner on Monday for his 102nd point of the season. He is four points shy of matching his career-best total, set when he scored 60 goals in 2021-22.

“It’s incredible man,” McCabe said of Matthews after Monday's win. “We’re in awe just as much as you guys are watching. What I like most about his game is that obviously he is scoring for us, but his defensive details are top-notch. He seems to always be in the right spot. He’s got a phenomenal stick. He’s really helping us out down low for us defencemen and taking charge defensively.

"He’s not cheating the game to get these goals.”

"You know, 60 was crazy … 65 it's … you look at it in awe," Leafs winger Matthew Knies said. "It's pretty incredible what he can do.

"Cross my fingers. I want to see 70."

Five games remain for Matthews as he continues to try to put together the 15th 70-goal campaign in NHL history.

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

The 26-year-old centre has five goals in four games this month and will look continue his surge as the Maple Leafs face the New Jersey Devils in each of their two games, starting Tuesday. Matthews has one goal in one game against Devils this season. 

Following the two-game set with the Devils, the Maple Leafs will close out their season with games against the Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning. Matthews has five goals in a combined eight games against those clubs this season. 

While Matthews can pass Ovechkin for the single-season goals record in the cap era, his teammate Ilya Samsonov isn't ready to change his rankings just yet. 

“Auston is a sniper, yeah,” Samsonov said. “After 'Ovi,' Auston is probably second. A really good sniper.”