Auston Matthews responds to criticism amid recent cold streak

Mike Armenti
March 12, 2024  (11:38)

Auston Matthews
Photo credit: MSN

This is definitely not the piece I thought I'd be writing this season - a season in which Auston Matthews has a legitimate chance at scoring 70 goals, a feat that we may see for the first time in over 30 years - but after lighting the league on fire in February, Matthews has been uncharacteristically quiet in March.

With just 1 goal and 2 points in his last 5 games, spanning between March 2nd and March 9th, Matthews has cooled off of late. Once on pace for 75 goals, the Arizona product is now on pace for just 69 goals due to his recent cold streak. "Just 69 goals", as if that's not still incredible.
Following practice on Monday, Matthews was asked about his unproductive March so far. Obviously, he did his best to keep things positive while also acknowledging that he just hasn't had the same puck luck.
"I mean, stuff like that happens sometimes. The puck's not just going to go in all the time. I thought there were some good things. Obviously, I want to produce. I want to help the team and do my part."

Head coach Sheldon Keefe was quick to point out that Matthews has had his fair share of opportunities over the last 5 games. The message that he wanted to send is that every player gets snake-bitten every now and again - even the best goal scorer in the world.
"He had at least two, maybe three, but certainly two, fairly clean chances where he was basically in alone on the goalie in Boston and those didn't fall for him. Obviously, things have fallen a lot for him this season and they will again. Somewhat of a historic type of pace that he was on is historic for a reason, because it's difficult to maintain."

With 4 days off between games and the Leafs not back in action until Thursday in Philadelphia, Matthews will have plenty of time to rest and reset this week, and a rejuvenated Auston Matthews has to be a scary thought for the Flyers.
According to Hockey-Reference, March is Matthews' lowest scoring month and he carries his lowest shooting percentage in March over his entire career. This is, of course, not counting October or April because they are usually only half-months.
Matthews currently leads the league in goals (no surprise there) with 54 tallies on the season, despite playing just 63 games. With 18 games to go, Matthews will need to score 16 times to reach 70 goals. Even if he doesn't reach that milestone, he's still basically a shoo-in to set a new career-high in goals this season, sitting just 6 goals away from 60 on the season - a feat that he accomplished back in 2021-22.
12 MARS   |   424 ANSWERS
Auston Matthews responds to criticism amid recent cold streak

How many goals will Auston Matthews finish with? (Currently on pace for 69 goals)

I say he hits 70+13431.6 %
He'll finish in the 65-69 range17842 %
He'll finish between 60-64 goals11226.4 %
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