The Toronto Maple Leafs are lighting up the NHL early in the 2018-19 season, with centers Auston Matthews and John Tavares leading the way.
Matthews and Tavares each scored twice in Toronto's 7-4 win against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on Tuesday. They are the third set of teammates in NHL history, and first since the inaugural season of 1917-18, to each score at least six goals in the first four games of a season.
Matthews, who has 10 points (seven goals, three assists) is the sixth player in Toronto history to score at least one goal in the first four games, joining Corb Denneny (Toronto St. Patricks, 1921-22), Babe Dye (St. Patricks, 1925-26), Sweeney Schriner (1944-45), John Anderson (1981-82) and Clarke MacArthur (2010-11).
Matthews also is the third Maple Leafs player to earn multiple points in each of the first four games to start a season. Harry Cameron had 14 points (eight goals, six assists) for the Toronto Arenas in 1917-18. Schriner had 15 points (nine goals, six assists) in 1944-45.
Video: TOR@CHI: Tavares records first hat trick with Leafs
"When it's going in, it's always a really good feeling," Matthews said Tuesday. "You want to keep it going, keep getting those opportunities and continue to generate chances because it's going to get harder and harder as the season goes along."
Tavares has scored six goals in his first four games with the Maple Leafs (3-1-0), who have scored 20 this season (5.00 per game). Toronto has scored at least seven goals in consecutive games for the third time in the past 20 years (Dec. 19-21, 1998 and Oct. 4-7, 2017).
"We've got talent and we do the right thing and we compete and play hard and develop an identity within our group," said Tavares, who had a hat trick in a 7-6 overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. "I think we believe in creating opportunities with the skill sets we have."