For whatever reason, Auston Matthews is starting to heat up, and it’s just at the right time. Given the slow start to the season (for Matthews) and his current hot streak, was there a hidden injury that kept him at less than 100%?
The answer to that question is that we’ll probably never know. These things (injuries) – if indeed they do exist – are pretty hush hush.
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Injuries Can and Do Impact On Ice Performance
It’s certainly possible that Matthews might have been injured earlier in the season. And, it’s also certainly possible that such injuries could have impacted his performance on the ice. Injuries have a significant impact on a player’s game, and with a “machine” as finely tuned as Matthews, it can take time to fully recover if something is even just a little bit off.
Whatever happened, if anything did, Matthews has looked more assertive and confident with the puck over the past several weeks. And, given how important Matthews is to his team, his health could make a significant difference for the Maple Leafs during the upcoming playoffs. If he can continue to play with that same level of confidence and assertiveness he’s showing now, he could be a real difference-maker for the team.
Maple Leafs’ Fans Have to Be Happy with the Change in Matthews’ Performance
Regardless of the specifics, Maple Leafs’ fans have to be excited to see Matthews playing at his best. His skating has improved and his shot has stayed stellar. Both are positive signs for the Maple Leafs as they enter the playoffs.
Auston Matthews’ shot is his biggest strength. It’s also the biggest reason he’s been such a dynamic scorer since entering the NHL. That said, what sets him apart is his ability to dominate play on the ice.
Matthews is a huge guy who moves well on the ice. When he’s at his best, he can be nearly unstoppable. His combination of size, skill, and hockey IQ helps him control the pace of the game and create scoring chances for himself and his teammates.
The Question Now Is, Can Matthews Continue His Solid Play into the Postseason?
If Matthews can continue to play with this same dominance and command during the playoffs, he could become a game-changer for his team. They need him to help lead the team on a deep playoff run.
Matthews’ ability to move dynamically opens up chances for him to shoot. It also creates space and scoring chances for his linemates. That offensive creativity and flexibility will be a critical factor in the playoffs because goals are harder to come by. Playoff winners figure out how to maximize their opportunities.
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Matthews Is Having a Great Season, Even in a Down Year
Matthews is such a special talent that, even in a “down” season, he’s still having a great season. Only his skill and work ethic allows him to produce at a high level even when he’s not playing at his best.
Matthews’ lack of domination this season has been a bit of a mystery, and there could be a number of reasons for it. These could be injuries, physical play from opponents, and even Matthews’ confidence or assertiveness. Whatever the reason, he’s now finding his form and playing at a high level heading into the playoffs. Just at the right time.
Matthews’ Goal Is Not Personal Accolades, It’s the Stanley Cup
Matthews has already achieved a lot in his young career. In fact, he’s already close to 300 goals and the top five in Maple Leafs’ history in scoring. But, his ultimate goal is to win the Stanley Cup. If he continues to play at this high level he could help lead the team deep into the playoffs. Individual awards aside, it’s more important to have your photo taken holding the Stanley Cup in victory.
The Maple Leafs’ roster is talented. If Matthews can stay healthy and keep playing well, his team’s chances of winning the Stanley Cup increase. Obviously, the playoffs are always unpredictable. However, the Maple Leafs have the talent and potential to make a deep run this year.
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