TORONTO (Apr. 2) — The bulletin, late Thursday night, from ESPN in the United States:
Auston Matthews joins exclusive Toronto
Maple Leafs club with NHL-leading 50th goal
Auston Matthews scored his NHL-leading 50th goal of the season and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the visiting Winnipeg Jets, 7-3, Thursday night. Matthews scored Toronto’s sixth goal of the game into an empty net with 2:06 left in regulation. He moved past Leon Draisaitl (49 goals) of the idle Edmonton Oilers for the league goal lead and became the first Maple Leafs player to reach the milestone since Dave Andreychuk scored 53 in 1993-94.
“I don’t know if I ever really envisioned it being an empty-netter goal, but I’ll take it,” Matthews said. “I had some good chances tonight, just didn’t go in. Fortunately that last one did.” Matthews joined Andreychuk, Rick Vaive (three times) and Gary Leeman as the only Maple Leafs players to reach the half-century goal mark.
The milestone goal by Matthews ended a Toronto franchise drought of 28 years and one week — or 10,234 nights; 245,616 hours; seven leap years — since Andreychuk beat Arturs Irbe of San Jose at Maple Leaf Gardens on Mar. 24, 1994. Other such events that have occurred between 50–goal shooters in blue and white…
NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE’S 50–GOAL SCORERS, 1994–2022
1993–94: Pavel Bure, Vancouver (60); Brett Hull, St. Louis (57); Sergei Fedorov, Detroit (56); Dave Andreychuk, Toronto (53); Brendan Shanahan, St. Louis (52); Ray Sheppard, Detroit (52); Adam Graves, New York Rangers (52); Cam Neely, Boston (50); Mike Modano, Dallas (50).
1995–96: Mario Lemieux, Piitsburgh (69); Jaromir Jagr, Pittsburgh (62); Alexander Mogilny, Vancouver (55); Peter Bondra, Washington (52); John LeClair, Philadelphia (51); Joe Sakic, Colorado (51); Keith Tkachuk, Winnipeg (50); Paul Kariya, Anaheim (50).
1996–97: Keith Tkachuk, Phoenix (52); Teemu Selanne, Anaheim (51); Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh (50); John LeClair, Philadelphia (50).
1997–98: Teemu Selanne, Anaheim (52); Peter Bondra, Washington (52); Pavel Bure, Vancouver (51); John LeClair, Philadelphia (51).
1999–2000: Pavel Bure, Florida (58).
2000–01: Pavel Bure, Florida (59); Joe Sakic, Colorado (54); Jaromir Jagr, Pittsburgh (52).
2001–02: Jarome Iginla, Calgary (52).
2002–03: Milan Hejduk, Colorado (50).
2005–06: Jonathan Cheechoo, San Jose (56); Jaromir Jagr, New York Rangers (54); Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta (52); Alex Ovechkin, Washington (52); Dany Heatley, Ottawa (50).
2006–07: Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay (52); Dany Heatley, Ottawa (50).
2007–08: Alex Ovechkin, Washington (65); Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta (52); Jarome Iginla, Calgary (50).
2008–09: Alex Ovechkin, Washington (56).
2009–10: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh (51); Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay (51); Alex Ovechkin, Washington (50).
2010–11: Corey Perry, Anaheim (50).
2011–12: Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay (60); Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh (50).
2013–14: Alex Ovechkin, Washington (51).
2014–15: Alex Ovechkin, Washington (53).
2015–16: Alex Ovechkin, Washington (50).
2018–19: Alex Ovechkin, Washington (51); Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton (50).
2021–22: Auston Matthews, Toronto (50).
TOTAL 50–GOAL SCORERS: 31.
WHEN THERE WERE FIVE…
FRONT AND REAR COVERS OF THE 1971–72 NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE GUIDE.
As mentioned, the 50th goal scored by Auston Matthews on Thursday night ended quite a lengthy span for the Maple Leafs. How lengthy? Here are some notable events that occurred in the months and years after Dave Andreychuk’s 50th marker on Mar. 24, 1994:
MAR. 25, 1994: Morgan Rielly of the Maple Leafs, born Mar. 9 in West Vancouver, is 16 days old.
APR. 19, 1994: Goalie Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils records his first of 113 Stanley Cup playoff victories in Game 2 of the opening round, defeating Dominik Hasek and the Buffalo Sabres, 2–1.
APR. 22, 1994: Former U.S. president Richard Nixon dies at 81 in New York.
JUNE 04, 1994: NHL assists leader (71) Jonathan Huberdeau of Florida turns one in St. Jerome, Que.
JUNE 14, 1994: New York Rangers defeat Vancouver to win their first Stanley Cup in 54 years.
JUNE 17, 1994: Former Buffalo Bills running back O.J. Simpson is charged by Los Angeles police in the murder of his ex–wife, Nicole Brown–Simpson, and bystander Ronald Goldman.
JUNE 17, 1994: Millions watch the infamous O.J. Bronco chase live on TV from Los Angeles.
JUNE 28, 1994: The Maple Leafs acquire Mats Sundin from the Quebec Nordiques for Wendel Clark just hours before the NHL draft at the Hartford Civic Center.
JULY 25, 1994: Goalie Andrei Vasilveskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning is born in Tyumen, Russia.
JULY 05, 1994: American Jeff Bezos, today the second–wealthiest person in the world, launches Amazon.com.
AUG. 11, 1994: Alex Kerfoot of the Maple Leafs is born in Vancouver.
AUG. 12, 1994: Major League Baseball players go on strike, ultimately canceling the final two months of the regular season; the playoffs and (for the first time) the World Series.
NOV. 08, 1994: Legendary Maple Leafs goalie Johnny Bower turns 70.
DEC. 08, 1994: Future Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty turns five in London, Ont.
JAN. 09, 1995: As the NHL and the NHL Players Association finally end a 103–day owners’ lockout, future Maple Leafs goalie Jack Campbell turns three in Port Huron, Mich.
JAN. 20, 1995: Mats Sundin plays his first of 981 games with the Maple Leafs — a 3–3 tie at Los Angeles in the opener of a 48–game schedule abbreviated by the lockout.
MAR. 01, 1995: Future Canadian rock star Justin Bieber’s first birthday in London, Ont.
APR. 10, 1995: Future Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf turns 10 in Edmonton.
APR. 19, 1995: The Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City is destroyed by a truck bomb planted by government extremists Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, killing 168 and injuring nearly 700.
MAY 17, 1995: Toe Blake, who coached Montreal to eight Stanley Cups (1956-57-58-59-60-65-66-68), dies at 82.
JUNE 17, 1995: Future tennis star Venus Williams turns 15 in Lynwood, Calif.
SEP. 01, 1995: Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche is born in Halifax.
SEP. 17, 1995: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is born in Tyler, Texas.
SEP. 17, 1995: Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe turns 15 in Brampton, Ont.
SEP. 27, 1995: Future Hockey Night In Canada star Elliotte Friedman turns 25 in Toronto.
OCT. 03, 1995: O.J. Simpson is acquitted of double–murder charge by a jury in downtown Los Angeles.
OCT. 19, 1995: Future Toronto Blue Jays star Jose Bautista turns 15 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
OCT. 27, 1995: Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers is born in Cologne, Germany.
NOV. 12, 1995: Canadian rock musician Neil Young turns 50.
DEC. 08, 1995: Josh Donaldson, 2015 American League MVP with the Blue Jays, turns 10 in Pensacola, Fla.
DEC. 30, 1995: New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin is born in Moscow.
DEC. 30, 1995: Soon–to–be pro golfer Tiger Woods turns 20.
FEB. 11, 1996: Daniil Medvedev, currently No. 2 in the world among men’s tennis players, is born in Moscow.
FEB. 14, 1996: The NFL’s Cleveland Browns fire head coach Bill Belichick.
MAR. 04, 1996: Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher fires coach Pat Burns after a loss in Colorado.
MAR. 28, 1996: Stefani Germanotta turns 10 in New York, still five years from becoming Lady Gaga.
MAY 01, 1996: William Nylander of the Maple Leafs is born in Calgary.
MAY 21, 1996: Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen is born in Firebaugh, Calif.
JUNE 22, 1996: World’s No. 1 ranked male golfer, Scottie Scheffler, is born Ridgewood, N.J.
JUNE 03, 1996: Future tennis star Rafael Nadel turns 10 in Manacor, Spain.
JULY 27, 1996: Donovan Bailey of Canada wins the 100–meter final at the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta with a world–record time of 9.84 seconds.
JULY 31, 1996: Russian youngster Evgeni Malkin turns 10.
OCT. 07, 1996: FOX News Channel is launched in New York.
OCT. 14, 1996: Maple Leafs goalie Erik Källgren is born in Stockholm.
OCT. 28, 1996: Jack Eichel of the Vegas Golden Knights is born in Chelmsford, Mass.
NOV. 30, 1996: Famed ukulele player/falsetto singer (and Maple Leafs fan) Tiny Tim dies at 63.
DEC. 25, 1996: Maple Leafs TV voice of the 1960’s and 70’s, Bill Hewitt, dies at 68.
DEC. 25, 1996: Future Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau turns 25.
JAN. 13, 1997: Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers is born north of Toronto, in Richmond Hill.
MAR. 25, 1997: Singer Elton John turns 50.
FEB. 25, 1997: The Maple Leafs trade captain Doug Gilmour to the New Jersey Devils.
APR. 12, 1997: Comedian/talk–show host David Letterman turns 50.
MAY 05, 1997: Mitch Marner of the Maple Leafs is born in Markham, Ont.
MAY 30, 1997: Hall–of–Fame goalie Ken Dryden is hired as president of the Maple Leafs.
JUNE 07, 1997: The Detroit Red Wings defeat Philadelphia to win their first Stanley Cup since 1955.
AUG. 03, 1997: University of Michigan quarterback Tom Brady turns 20.
AUG. 07, 1997: In Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, young hockey player Sidney Crosby turns 10.
AUG. 31, 1997: Princess Diana dies after a high–speed automobile accident in Paris.
SEP. 17, 1997: Auston Matthews of the Maple Leafs is born in San Ramon, Calif.
OCT. 02, 1997: Youngster Phil Kessel turns 10 in Madison, Wisc.
NOV. 16, 1997: Quarterback Doug Flutie leads the Toronto Argonauts to a 47–23 victory in the Grey Cup game at Edmonton; the Argos second consecutive Canadian Football League title.
DEC. 14, 1997: Mike Gartner of the Phoenix Coyotes becomes the fifth NHL player to score 700 goals.
JAN. 10, 1998: Hall–of–Fame forward Frank Mahovlich turns 60.
FEB. 07, 1998: Super Bowl–winning quarterback Matt Stafford of the Los Angeles Rams turns 10 in Tampa.
FEB. 07–22, 1998: The Winter Olympic Games are held in Nagano, Japan. NHL players participate for the first time — Dominik Hasek leading the Czech Republic to the gold medal.
MAR. 12, 1998: Singer James Taylor turns 50.
MAR. 20, 1998: Hall–of–Fame defenseman Bobby Orr turns 50.
MAR. 31, 1998: Hall–of–Fame winger Gordie Howe turns 70.
APR. 19, 1998: Patrik Laine of the Columbus Blue Jackets is born in Tampere, Finland.
JUNE 26, 1998: The Maple Leafs hire former defenseman Pat Quinn as head coach.
JULY 15, 1998: The Maple Leafs sign free agent goalie Curtis Joseph of the Edmonton Oilers.
OCT. 09, 1998: CTV Sportsnet, Canada’s second all–sports TV network, launches programming.
OCT. 30, 1998: Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche is born in Calgary.
NOV. 17, 1998: Famed Canadian guitarist Gordon Lightfoot turns 60.
NOV. 19, 1998: Three–time Stanley Cup winner Patrick Kane of Chicago turns 10 in Buffalo.
DEC. 02, 1998: Future Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers turns 15 in Chico, Calif.
DEC. 24, 1998: Former Leafs captain Syl Apps dies at 83.
JAN. 03, 1999: Hall–of–Fame forward Bobby Hull turns 60.
FEB. 05, 1999: Donald S. Cherry becomes a senior citizen, turning 65.
FEB. 13, 1999: The final NHL game at Maple Leaf Gardens. Chicago defeats Toronto, 6–2.
FEB. 20, 1999: The first NHL game at Air Canada Centre — Steve Thomas scores in OT to give the Maple Leafs a 3–2 victory over Montreal. Forward Todd Warriner scores the first goal in the new arena.
MAR. 16, 1999: Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is born in Montreal.
APR. 18, 1999: Wayne Gretzky of the New York Rangers plays the last of his 1,487 NHL games. Gretzky records an assist, the 2,857th and final point of his career. Jaromir Jagr scores in overtime to give Pittsburgh a 2–1 win.
MAY 14, 1999: Rick Vaive, the first 50–goal shooter for the Maple Leafs, turns 40.
JUNE 04, 1999: Harvard University forward Nick Abruzzese, making his NHL debut with the Maple Leafs tonight in Philadelphia, is born in State Hill, N.Y.
JUNE 19–20, 1999: Triple–overtime Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final in Buffalo as Brett Hull scores infamous “toe–in–the–crease” goal on Dominik Hasek to eliminate the Sabres.
DEC. 31, 1999: Final NHL game of the 20th century, at Reunion Arena in Dallas. Brett Hull scores at 6:36 and 8:49 of the third period giving the Stars a 5–4 victory over the Anaheim Ducks.
JAN. 01, 2000: First NHL game of the 21st century, at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville. The Predators defeat San Jose, 3–2. Forward Sergei Krivokrasov of Nashville scores first goal of the new millennium.
JAN. 01, 2000: In the first Maple Leafs game of the new millennium, the visitors are annihilated, 8–1, at Buffalo.