Mitch Marner had a goal and an assist, Jack Campbell made 30 saves for his third career shutout, and the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-0 on Saturday in the opener of a three-game set.
Mike Smith stopped 25 shots as Edmonton (14-9-0) saw its five-game winning streak come to an end after Toronto held Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who sit first and second in the league’s scoring race, at bay on a frustrating night for the home side in the Alberta capital.
The teams continue their series Monday and Wednesday back at Rogers Place.
The Leafs did get some reinforcements with the return of Campbell, who missed more than a month with a leg injury suffered Jan. 24, while winger Joe Thornton (lower body) and top-4 defenceman Jake Muzzin (facial fracture) also suited up after both sat out Toronto’s last two games.
Leafs No. 1 goalie Frederik Andersen, meanwhile, remains day-to-day with a lower-body ailment that pressed third-stringer Michael Hutchison into action twice earlier this week with Campbell still working his way back.
Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe elected to put Tavares in Matthews’ spot between Marner and Thornton with the team’s best player and top centre out. The Leafs, who opened a road trip that will see them play five games in eight nights, also defeated Edmonton 4-2 in Toronto on Jan. 22 without Matthews.
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After both teams had a couple of good chances to open the scoring early, the Leafs got on the board at 14:37 of the first period on the game’s first power play. Marner showed great patience circling behind Smith’s net before finding Nylander, who buried his eighth of the season. It was also the Swede’s third in two games on the heels of scoring both goals in Wednesday’s 2-1 overtime victory against the Calgary Flames, as Toronto snapped an 0-for-12 stretch on the man advantage.
Both goalies were busy before the Leafs broke through, with Campbell denying McDavid off the rush and Smith thwarting Alexander Barabanov on his doorstep in tight.
Edmonton’s power play came in ranked seventh in the NHL after going 6 for 14 over its last three games, but failed to get a single opportunity as Toronto didn’t allow a man-advantage chance against for the first time since Nov. 27, 2019.
The Leafs and Oilers split their four previous meetings this season, although Toronto picked up an extra point in Edmonton’s 4-3 overtime victory on Jan. 30.