Auston Matthews Had a Historic Debut for the Maple Leafs

In his first game, the much-hyped Matthews scored a record-setting four goals, giving some hope to a struggling Toronto Maple Leafs franchise.

Before last night, 32,794 games had been played since the 1987-88 season, and in those games, there have been a total of 2,044 hat-tricks in the NHL.

So hat tricks occur in just 6.23% of games. Even more unlikely is a four-goal game, which has happened 163 times -- or 0.50% of games -- in that same time span. On average, it takes 200 games for a four-goal game to occur.

For rookie Auston Matthews, it took one game -- actually, just two periods -- to score four goals. That's pretty good.

Before him, only nine rookies had accomplished this feat, and none did so in their first game. Only four games were played last night, and Matthews decided to throw out the record book in his. After last night there are now 32,798 games played since 1987. In that span, there are now 2,045 hat-tricks and 164 four goal games -- thanks to Matthews.

How hard is it to net four goals in one game? Current superstars Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, and Steven Stamkos have failed to record a four-goal game in their illustrious careers.

Based on our preseason power rankings, the Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to be the second-worst team in the NHL, and we see them finishing last in the Eastern Conference with a lowly 11.06% chance of making the postseason.

That's the bad news. The good news is it looks like Toronto has a young star around which it can build.

While Matthews obviously won't continue at this pace, and it is wrong to expect him to single-handedly elevate the Maple Leafs to relevancy, the early returns on this year's top overall pick are very impressive. His legend is growing, and it'll be fun to see where he goes from here.