TAMPA — auston matthews appreciated what a special night it was for him and his family at the 2022 NHL Awards on Tuesday.
The Toronto Maple Leafs center won the Hart Trophy, voted the NHL’s Most Valuable Player by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, and the Ted Lindsay Award as the League’s Most Outstanding Player as voted by members. of the NHL Players Association.
But returning to Amalie Arena to speak to the media afterward made Matthews think about what could have been for the Maple Leafs this season as much as his individual accomplishments.
“I always try to set goals and just try to be the best that I can be,” Matthews said. “But I think I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a little bit of, I guess, angst wishing you were still playing, obviously, right now. Especially being back here.”
The last time Matthews was in the building, the Maple Leafs had a chance to win their first Stanley Cup Playoffs series since 2004, but lost 4-3 in overtime to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the First. Eastern Conference round. The Lightning won 2-1 in Game 7 in Toronto to eliminate the Maple Leafs and continue their quest to win the Stanley Cup for the third straight season.
Tampa Bay trails the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 in the Stanley Cup Final heading into Game 4 of the best-of-7 series here on Wednesday (8 pm ET; ABC, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS).
“Of course, I’ve been watching,” Matthews said. “It’s hard to say. I’ve been watching it for so long. Six, seven years of watching this time of year. So I think everyone knows and understands and realizes how tough it is. You need a lot of stuff to go.” your way and certain things.
“We played a really good team in Tampa and there’s a reason they’re back here in the Stanley Cup Final for the third year in a row. So I think these are all things that I guess we can learn from.”
Matthews is the third Maple Leafs player to win the Hart Trophy, 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 American-born player to win the Hart and Ted Lindsay, after patrick kane of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2016.
Matthews’ fellow finalists were center for the Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid and goalie for the New York Rangers Igor Shesterkin for defenseman Hart, and McDavid and Nashville Predators josi roman for Lindsey.
“It’s nice. I can’t lie,” Matthews said. “It feels great. It’s special to have my family here with me. A lot of great players in that room, a lot of guys that really deserve it. Definitely very special.”
Matthews set a Maple Leafs record with 60 goals, breaking the mark set by Rick Vaive (54) in 1981-82, and won the Rocket Richard Trophy for the second straight season as the NHL leader. The first player to score goals in the season since Steven Stammos scoring 60 for the Lightning in 2011-12, Matthews also set the record for most goals by an American-born player in a season.
Matthews tied Stamkos for sixth in the NHL 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 to the playoffs for the sixth straight. season. But Matthews hopes to add playoff success to his Maple Leafs resume next season.
“I think it’s a tremendous honor to wear the blue and white and represent the city of Toronto and wear the maple leaf every night,” he said. “The guys that have come before us and just the history that this organization has embarked on, it means a lot. So any time your name is mentioned in the history of an organization like that, it’s definitely pretty special and something I don’t take for granted. granted.”