Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Auston Matthews Not Getting Superstitious as Goal Drought Hits 13 Games

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Auston Matthews Not Getting Superstitious as Goal Drought Hits 13 Games

Article excerpt

Auston Matthews not getting superstitious

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TORONTO - Auston Matthews isn't the superstitious sort, apparently.

The 19-year-old rookie had no plans to change things up for a stroke of good luck following a 13th consecutive game without a goal. There would be no altering of the tape on his sticks nor any differences in his pre- or post-game routines. Nearly a month without scoring has not caused the No. 1 overall pick to drastically alter anything.

"I'm not crazy like that I guess. Not too superstitious," said Matthews following a 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night, just the third in 10 games at home for Toronto (7-3-0) this season. "I have my own things that I do, that I've done since I was younger and I kind of just stick with it. It's worked for me until this point so why change."

Matthews was again an impactful force in a losing effort, firing four shots and seven attempts in over 20 minutes. His line, which also includes fellow rookies William Nylander and Zach Hyman, was Toronto's most effective against the Hurricanes, a notoriously stingy group that held the Leafs under 30 shots for only the fifth time all season.

Matthews finished the evening with a 55 per cent puck possession mark, second among the team's forwards.

The Arizona native last scored on Oct. 25 against Tampa, producing only three assists since. That follows a terrific first six games which saw him muster six goals and 10 points, including a historic four-goal NHL debut.

He had numerous opportunities again Tuesday to end the drought, including back-to-back looks in the opening minutes of the second period. The latter was a wraparound chance that was ultimately stopped by Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward, sizzling of late in the Carolina crease.

Matthews had another prime opportunity a few minutes later, but shot the puck over the cage.

"He's got a lot of chances around the net at all times," said fellow rookie Mitch Marner. "I'm sure he's going to crack this very soon and when that happens it's going to be scary."

Underlying indicators continue to look strong for Matthews. He's been the Leafs best forward with respect to puck possession, won more than 50 per cent of his faceoffs and fired the most shots on the team (and fourth-most league-wide), including 45 or about three-and-a-half per-game during the drought. …

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