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Paul Maurice Hopes Auston Matthews Gets No. 70. Just Not Tomorrow



Auston matthews
Toronto’s Auston Matthews skates during the second period of a game against the Bruins on Nov. 2 in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

FORT LAUDERDALE — Count Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice as one rooting for Toronto star Auston Matthews to get 70 goals this season.

He just does not want to see him do it on Tuesday night in Sunrise.

“If he gets 70, and the truth is, I hope he does,’’ Maurice said Monday, “just not against us. That is such a unique thing o happen in the NHL in the modern era. It is a great story. You only play 82 games, so to score 70 goals? That’s a hot year, right?

“We’ll do our best. We really don’t tailor our game to individual players.’’

Matthews comes into tomorrow’s game with 69 goals, the most scored by any active player.

This is his second straight season with 60 goals and most since Alex Ovechkin had 65 in 2007-08.

During the 1992-93 season, just before the Panthers came into existence, two players hit the 70-goal mark: Buffalo’s Alexander Mogilny (77), and Winnipeg’s Teemu Selanne (76).

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It has been over 30 years since, and it has happened and only 14 times in history — by eight players.

“The story [Tuesday] is Auston Matthews chasing 70 goals,’’ Maurice said, “and that’s the only story. It really should be. That is a huge story, it is great.’’

So, it would be a historical night in Sunrise if Matthews was to score that goal against the Panthers on Tuesday night.

The puck would be retrieved and, likely head to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Being that the game is in Sunrise, that game puck would have the Florida Panthers shield on it.

That would be cool, right?


“They’re more than happy to have another Lightning puck,” Maurice said, noting that Matthews will have two chances at his historic goal as the Leafs visit Tampa Bay on Wednesday night.

“This a great story and a great challenge. We don’t want anyone to score on us. But our guys are aware of it. Being that the game may not have any other juice for us, that’ll be a good thing to get everyone fired up.”

Florida has done a pretty good job of bottling up Matthews of late.

Before he scored two in Toronto’s 6-4 win on April 1, Matthews had not recorded a point in the first two games of the season against the Panthers.

In Florida’s 5-game series win against the Leafs in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Matthews was held to two assists — and no points in the final three games.

His goal on April 1 was his first against the Panthers since April 10.

“What game is this, 74? He’s got 60 of them. No one has figured that out,” Maurice said before that game in Toronto.

“I’m not the smartest guy in the league, I’m just going to put a bunch of guys out there on him and they hopefully defend the hell out of it if we can. You’re not stopping. You just hope he scores them the next night, not when you are in town.’’

Added Matthew Tkachuk: “There is a lot of firepower over there and it is tough to contain them all. … He’s probably the best goal-scorer in the league.”

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  • When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • TV/Streaming: ESPN/ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • This Season (Leafs Lead 2-1) — At Florida: Panthers 3, Leafs 1 (Oct. 19); Tuesday. At Toronto: Leafs 2, Panthers 1 (Nov. 28); Leafs 6, Panthers 4 (April 1).
  • Last Season: Toronto won Regular Season Series 3-1; Florida won Eastern Conference Semifinals 4-1
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Toronto leads 50-37-7, 7 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: GAME 1, Eastern Conference Quarterfinals; TBA

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