TEMPE, Ariz. — Auston Matthews netted his 50th and 51st goals of the season on Wednesday night in his hometown return, setting a new record as the quickest U.S.-born player to reach 50 goals in 54 games.

Matthews notched the milestone goal during a power play at 5:01 of the first period in a 6-3 triumph over the Arizona Coyotes.

Hailing from nearby Scottsdale, Matthews found the back of the net with a shot from the circle to the left of goaltender Karel Vejmelka, expanding the lead to 2-0.


Auston Matthews celebrates with teammates after scoring his 50th goal during the Maple Leafs’ win. NHLI via Getty Images

Mitchell Marner and Timothy Liljegren provided the assist for the goal while Michael Carcone was serving a penalty for slashing.

“We were able to take advantage of a couple of power plays and move the puck around. I focused on finding a good position, and Marner has an excellent sense of my position on the ice and vice versa,” said Matthews. “We push each other to be the best individual players and teammates we can be.”

Matthews secured his 51st goal, bringing his career tally to 350 goals in 535 games, late in the second period to establish a 4-2 lead on the way to the Maple Leafs’ fifth consecutive victory.

“It’s a small achievement in a long season,” stated Matthews. “Returning home to play against a team that has been a formidable opponent for us in recent seasons, it was a collective effort. The electrifying atmosphere made it a thrilling game.”

Matthews previously shared the U.S.-born record with former Pittsburgh star Kevin Stevens, who achieved the feat in 62 games.

Matthews’ record of reaching 50 goals surpasses Mario Lemieux, who achieved it in 50 games for Pittsburgh in 1995-96.

Wayne Gretzky holds the ultimate record, reaching the 50th goal in his 39th game for Edmonton in 1981-82, ultimately setting a record of 92 goals in the season.

Matthews has scored nine goals in the last four games, registering two consecutive hat tricks before netting a single goal against St. Louis on Monday night. Florida’s Sam Reinhart is second in the NHL with 39 goals.

Two seasons ago, Matthews scored 60 goals to lead the NHL, becoming the first player to achieve this since Steven Stamkos netted 60 in the 2011-12 season.

Teemu Selanne and Alexander Mogilny were the last players to score 70 or more in a season, with both achieving 76 goals in 1992-93.