Auston Matthews hits 40 goals, Connor McDavid closing in on 100 points, and more NHL action

auston matthews injury
May 6, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) celebrates his 40th goal at the bench during the third period against the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Auston Matthews hit the 40 goal mark and Connor McDavid is now at 96 points. Two of the NHL’s brightest stars are giving hockey fans quite a show in this COVID shortened season.

Auston Matthews hits 40 goals in his 49th game

John Tavares marveled at how Matthews just “makes it look so easy.” The Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-2 last night which prevents the Habs from the inevitable clinch. For the Leafs center, he notched the 40th goal of the season in just his 49th game. He’s hit the mark on the strength of 5 game goal scoring streak where he’s notched 6 goals.

“I think experience is a big thing, going into each game you have more confidence,” Matthews said. “I play with some really good players and have been fortunate to have really good teams in my five years here. Every year I just try to get better and better and push for more.”

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Connor McDavid closing in on 100 points

“It’s just a number,” Connor McDavid said not too long ago. Well that number is within four points of being achieved with just four games remaining. At his scoring rate, he should be able to hit 100 points with time to spare. Last night, the Canucks beat the Oilers 6-3 but the Edmonton captain picked up three assists in defeat. He now has 96 points on the year and is going to add more than just the Art Ross Trophy to his hardware case this summer.

McDavid has two more games to play against the Canucks at home, and two road games against the Canadiens to hit the century mark.

McDavid 100 points
May 6, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) and Vancouver Canucks forward Bo Horvat (53) look for a loose puck during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Carter scores four as Penguins thrash the Sabres

The Penguin padded their first place lead in the East to two points over the Caps by beating the Sabres 8-4. Trade deadline acquisition Jeff Carter had a field day with four goals in the contest, the first ever in his long NHL career. “I don’t know what happened out there, to be honest with you,” Carter jokingly said. “The puck was following me all night.”

In other East action, the Islanders took another loss. This time the NJ Devils beat them 2-1 for their third straight loss and 6th in their last 8. It seems the Isles are going to finish 4th in the division with the Bruins easily shutting out a depleted Rangers team 4-0.

“We’ve just got to get back to a little bit to our identity,” New York coach Barry Trotz said. “… I fully understand where I think we are in the sense of getting to the playoffs, and everybody wants to take a little bit of an exhale and take a breather, but we can’t put it in park. Some guys have parked their games where you think you can just turn it up.”

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Finally, the Blackhawks beat the Hurricanes in OT on an Alex DeBrincat goal. The Canes remain the the top team in the NHL with 80 points.