Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews scores 45th goal, keeps pace with Bruins’ David Pastrnak

The Rocket Richard Trophy race continues to heat up as the two leaders, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews and Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak, each scored in their respective games on Saturday.

Matthews showcased his speed entering the offensive zone, outskating the Canucks defense and somehow getting one past Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko for his 45th goal of the season. It was a go-ahead goal in the first period to make it 2-1 Maple Leafs.

It was Matthews’ 31st goal of the season at home, tied for second-most in a season in franchise history and just three behind Darryl Sittler’s record of 34 set in 1977-78.

Toronto secured a 4-2 win over the Canucks as the Maple Leafs improved their record 22-7-5 when Matthews lights the lamp. 

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The goal helped Matthews keep pace with Boston’s Pastrnak, who scored his 47th goal of the season in a 4-0 win over the New York Islanders. 

Pastrnak opened the scoring after Bruins defenseman Torey Krug received a cross-ice pass and attempted to connect with forward Patrice Bergeron. The pass was behind Bergeron, who was charging the net, and the puck went into the corner where Pastrnak one-timed a snapshot past Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov.

It was the 15th time that Pastrnak had opened the scoring for the Bruins in a game this season. The only player in NHL history who has done it more in a single season was Brett Hull in 1990-91 (20) and 1991-92 (16).

Pastrnak maintains his two-goal edge on Matthews in the Rocket Richard race. Both teams have 16 games remaining in the season.

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