Auston Matthews played his first game in his home state on Friday night, and his family and close friends in attendance were treated to a pre-Christmas delight.
Matthews picked up an assist on Connor Brown’s opening goal of the game – 3:04 after the opening faceoff – in Toronto’s 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena.
“It was special,” the Scottsdale, Arizona raised native said. “Like I said earlier – today, coming home and playing in front of the home crowd, playing where I grew up, it’s definitely a special moment. To get the two points here and to win definitely puts the cherry on top.”
Matthews now has 13 points over the same number of games (10 goals, 3 assists) through late November and all of December.
Leo Komarov netted a pair of goals for Toronto, and Willam Nylander snapped a personal 13-game goal drought to round out the Leafs’ scoring. Frederik Andersen made 31 saves for the win.
On the Coyotes’ bench, it was a milestone evening for Shane Doan. The face of the Jets/Coyotes franchise, Doan played in his 1,500th career NHL game and also registered his 400th career goal. Doan has spent his entire career with Winnipeg/Arizona.