We don't write a ton of hockey here at SportsLine, but there could be history on the ice at Madison Square Garden tonight when the Toronto Maple Leafs visit the New York Rangers. Leafs star Auston Matthews, a 24-year-old American, could tie the NHL record with an 11th straight road game scoring at least one goal. At Caesars Sportsbook, Matthews is a -125 favorite to be an anytime scorer.
Matthews missed the Leafs' first three games of the season recovering from injury and got off to a bit of a slow start with just one goal in six October games, but he has taken off since and is third in the league with 25 goals as he looks to repeat as the Rocket Richard Trophy winner; Matthews led the NHL with 41 goals in just 52 games last season. He is the first player in Leafs history to start his career with six straight 25-plus goal seasons.
He broke the Toronto franchise record of nine straight road games with a goal last Wednesday in a 2-1 upset loss at Arizona – Matthews is from Scottsdale. He added a 10th in a row in Saturday's 6-5 win in St. Louis.
The two players to have scored at least one goal in 11 straight road games were Hall of Famers Pavel Bure in the 1993-94 season (15 total goals in that span) and Steve Yzerman in 1988-89 (14 total goals). Matthews has three goals in six career games at the Rangers. He has yet to score in two games against the Rangers this season. New York won 2-1 in overtime at Toronto on Oct. 18 in Matthews' season debut and the Leafs won 2-1 at home on Nov. 18.
That Matthews scores and the Leafs win in regulation is +170 at Caesars. That he is the game's first goalscorer is +350 and the last also +350. Matthews scoring two goals is +333 and a hat trick +1500. He has one hat trick this season, coming Dec. 1 vs. Colorado.
While the Leafs still have a few players out in protocols, New York is down to just former first overall pick Alexis Lafreniere in protocols. On Tuesday, forward Barclay Goodrow cleared, and he should play tonight. Goodrow has seven goals and 10 assists.
NHL free pick: This writer took the Rangers at a value ML price of +140.
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