Everyone from first overall picks to fourth-liners to backup goalie step up for Auston-less Leafs

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Author of the article:

Lance Hornby

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza makes a pass in front of Edmonton Oilers defensemen Ethan Bear during the second period at Rogers Place. Photo by Perry Nelson /USA TODAY Sports Article content

Sheldon Keefe felt like he came into Saturday’s night’s high-stakes game against Edmonton with loaded dice.

“Everything really came up Leafs here tonight,” said Toronto’s coach who, without top goal-scorer Auston Matthews, presided over his team’s near-perfect 4-0 win in a first-place North Division showdown. The highlights:

— Jack Campbell, after nearly five weeks off, had a 30-save shutout, the club’s first of the year, and the second straight win by a Toronto backup, a position that was last year’s Achilles heel.

— Not only didn’t NHL scoring leaders Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl not move off their combined 74 points, McDavid had only one shot on goal, early in the game, with one other attempt and was a minus-3.

— De facto first-line centre John Tavares, with pressure on him to produce, had a two-assist night, giving him three points in the two games Matthews has missed versus Edmonton this year. The Leafs are now a combined 22-11-2 without Matthews since the 2016-17 season.


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— Injured defenceman Jake Muzzin came back wearing a full visor…

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