The Toronto Maple Leafs won the Hart Trophy, voted as the best player in the NHL by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, and the Ted Lindsay Award as the best player in the league as voted by members of the NHL Players Association.
But returning to the Amalie Arena to speak to the media afterward, Matthews was as much thinking about what could have been for the Maple Leafs this season as he was about his individual accomplishments.
“I always try to set goals and just try to be my best,” Matthews said. “But I think I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a bit of a worry, I guess, I wish I was still playing, obviously, right now. Especially after I’m back here.”
The last time Matthews was in the building, the Maple Leafs had their first Stanley Cup series win since 2004 but lost 4-3 in overtime to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Six of the first round of the Eastern Conference. The Lightning won 2-1 at Game 7 in Toronto to eliminate the Maple Leafs and continue their quest to win the Stanley Cup for the third consecutive season.
Tampa Bay’s Colorado Avalanche trails 2-1 in the Stanley Cup Final heading into Game 4 of the best-of-7 series here Wednesday (8 PM ET; ABC, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS).
“Of course, I was watching,” Matthews said. “Hard to say. I’ve been watching for a long time. Six or seven years now of watching this time of year. So I think everyone knows, understands and realizes how hard it is. You need a lot of things to go your way and certain things.”
video: Auston Matthews He wins the Hart Award for Best NHL Player
“We played with a really good team in Tampa and there’s a reason they’re coming back here in the Stanley Cup Final for the third year in a row. So I think those are all just things that we can, I think, learn from.”
Matthews is the third Maple Leafs player to win the Hart Cup, joining Ted Kennedy (1955) and Babe Pratt (1944), and the first to win the Ted Lindsay Award. The San Ramon, California native is the second US-born player to win Hart and Ted Lindsey, after Patrick King From the Chicago Blackhawks in 2016.
Matthews’ teammates in the finalists were the Edmonton Oilers Conor McDavid New York Rangers goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin To the man defending Hart, MacDavid and the Nashville Predators roman joussi for Lindsay.
“It’s beautiful,” Matthews said. “I can’t lie.” “It feels really good. It’s so special to have my family here with me. So many great players in that room, so many really worthy players. Definitely very special.”
Video: Auston Matthews wins the Ted Lindsay Award
Matthews set the Maple Leafs record with 60 goals, breaking the record set by Rick Fife (54) in 1981-82, winning the Rocket Richard Trophy for the second consecutive season as an NHL captain. The first player to score this number in a season since then Stephen Stamkos He scored 60 goals for Lightning in 2011-12, and Matthews also set the record for most goals scored by a US-born player in a single season.
Matthews tied Stamkos for sixth in the National Hockey League with 106 points (46 assists) in 73 games to help Toronto (54-21-7) finish with the most wins and points (115) in its history and qualify for the playoffs for their sixth straight game. . season. But Matthews hopes to add playoff success to the Maple Leafs’ restart next season.
“I think it’s a great honor to wear the blue and white uniform and represent the city of Toronto and wear Maple Leaf every night,” he said. “People who’ve gone before us and just the history that started in this organization means a lot. So anytime your name is mentioned in history in an organization like this, it’s definitely very special and I’m not given it.”