It’s probably a bit of an understatement to say that this year has created an extremely unique situation for the NHL playoffs. We’ll be watching hockey in the summer, see an extra round in the playoffs, see an extra eight teams get into the playoffs, as well as the fact that a playoff team that gets eliminated in the playoffs will walk away with Alexis Lafreniere.
But, this year also creates another unique situation for hockey, particularly for Auston Matthews (and additionally Alex Ovechkin, but this is a Leafs blog, so that part doesn’t matter).
Matthews may have an opportunity to break the NHL record for goals in a single postseason. Initially it sounds far-fetched, but when you realize the record is 19 goals, it’s not out of the question.
I first realized this when I was putting together my NHL 20 simulation of the playoffs, and Matthews finished the playoffs with 15 goals, while the Leafs had only made it to the conference finals. In that scenario, Matthews would only need five goals if he had made it to the finals to break the record, which isn’t unrealistic considering that in two of the three playoff series’ he’s played to date, he’s scored four goals in six games, and five in seven.
Of course, there are a few things that would need to go his way. Not unrealistic things, but…