Mitch Marner and Jack Campbell step up for Maple Leafs with Auston Matthews down in Edmonton

Ask any Leaf and they’ll tell you Jack Campbell is an ideal teammate and one of the hardest workers.That’s why Saturday night’s 4-0 shutout win in Edmonton — in Campbell’s first game back after missing 13 with a lower-body injury — was so sweet.“If you ever have the chance to meet Soupy (Campbell), he’s one of a kind,” said winger Mitch Marner, who thrived despite the absence of injured linemate Auston Matthews, scoring a goal and adding an assist.Campbell notched the Maple Leafs’ first shutout of the season, and third of his career, with 30 saves. One of the Leafs’ finest defensive efforts of the season silenced the NHL’s leading scorers, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. McDavid was minus three on the night and kept off the scoresheet for just the fourth time this season.“Our overall team game was one of our best,” Campbell beamed in a post-game Zoom call. “All four lines played amazing. I’m just so proud of this group, and we needed a big game like that.”Indeed, Toronto and Edmonton opened a three-game series where first place was on the line in the North Division. But in handing the red-hot Oilers just their third loss in 14 games, the Leafs moved six points ahead of Edmonton and guaranteed they’ll remain atop the division standings after the two remaining games.This night belonged mostly to Campbell. His teammates swept onto the ice after the final buzzer to congratulate him on backstopping an important win.“He was just really good,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “We had some tough turnovers off our breakout in the first period, but he was solid for us. I thought our team defended well, which made his life easier. Coming off an injury, we had to play well defensively … and I don’t know if we gave up an odd-man rush all night long.“When we broke down, Jack played great for us, but our guys played hard for him because they love him. You could see how they went out and did a good job for him.”Bar none: Marner’s goal was his 10th of the season. He also assisted on William Nylander’s power-play goal in the first period. Marner now has 10 multi-point games this season, while Nylander scored for the third time in two games. Toronto, which broke an 0-for-12 slump on the power play, also got goals from Jason Spezza and Zach Hyman.Spezza’s marker — a fake slapshot, followed by a bar-down snapshot — impressed Campbell: “Just want to give a shout-out to Jason Spezza for that goal. That was Vintage (Spezza’s nickname).”Minus Matthews: The Leafs are 22-11-2 all-time without Matthews in the lineup. Keefe inserted John Tavares on to the top line with Marner and Joe Thornton. The coach lauded Tavares’ defensive effort: “He does not get enough credit for the defensive work he’s done for us this season.”Hoot and Holler: Campbell was grateful for the work of defenceman Justin Holl, who went right after Tyler Ennis after the former Leaf bumped into the goalie, knocking him to the ice in the first period.“Oh man, I could go on all day about Holler,” Campbell said. “There’s that fire in his belly. He wants big minutes, and he wants the opportunity to shut down big players. He leads the way for us and we’re lucky to have him.”Matthews update: Matthews skated on his own Saturday. Keefe said he’s still considered day-to-day. Toronto plays Edmonton again Monday night. Matthews had missed one other game this season – a Jan. 22 tilt against Edmonton in Toronto, which the Leafs won 4-2.Mark Zwolinski is a Toronto-based sports reporter for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @markzwol

Mitch Marner and Jack Campbell step up for Maple Leafs with Auston Matthews down in Edmonton

Ask any Leaf and they’ll tell you Jack Campbell is an ideal teammate and one of the hardest workers.

That’s why Saturday night’s 4-0 shutout win in Edmonton — in Campbell’s first game back after missing 13 with a lower-body injury — was so sweet.

“If you ever have the chance to meet Soupy (Campbell), he’s one of a kind,” said winger Mitch Marner, who thrived despite the absence of injured linemate Auston Matthews, scoring a goal and adding an assist.

Campbell notched the Maple Leafs’ first shutout of the season, and third of his career, with 30 saves. One of the Leafs’ finest defensive efforts of the season silenced the NHL’s leading scorers, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. McDavid was minus three on the night and kept off the scoresheet for just the fourth time this season.

“Our overall team game was one of our best,” Campbell beamed in a post-game Zoom call. “All four lines played amazing. I’m just so proud of this group, and we needed a big game like that.”

Indeed, Toronto and Edmonton opened a three-game series where first place was on the line in the North Division. But in handing the red-hot Oilers just their third loss in 14 games, the Leafs moved six points ahead of Edmonton and guaranteed they’ll remain atop the division standings after the two remaining games.

This night belonged mostly to Campbell. His teammates swept onto the ice after the final buzzer to congratulate him on backstopping an important win.

“He was just really good,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “We had some tough turnovers off our breakout in the first period, but he was solid for us. I thought our team defended well, which made his life easier. Coming off an injury, we had to play well defensively … and I don’t know if we gave up an odd-man rush all night long.

“When we broke down, Jack played great for us, but our guys played hard for him because they love him. You could see how they went out and did a good job for him.”

  • Bar none: Marner’s goal was his 10th of the season. He also assisted on William Nylander’s power-play goal in the first period. Marner now has 10 multi-point games this season, while Nylander scored for the third time in two games. Toronto, which broke an 0-for-12 slump on the power play, also got goals from Jason Spezza and Zach Hyman.

Spezza’s marker — a fake slapshot, followed by a bar-down snapshot — impressed Campbell: “Just want to give a shout-out to Jason Spezza for that goal. That was Vintage (Spezza’s nickname).”

  • Minus Matthews: The Leafs are 22-11-2 all-time without Matthews in the lineup. Keefe inserted John Tavares on to the top line with Marner and Joe Thornton. The coach lauded Tavares’ defensive effort: “He does not get enough credit for the defensive work he’s done for us this season.”

  • Hoot and Holler: Campbell was grateful for the work of defenceman Justin Holl, who went right after Tyler Ennis after the former Leaf bumped into the goalie, knocking him to the ice in the first period.

“Oh man, I could go on all day about Holler,” Campbell said. “There’s that fire in his belly. He wants big minutes, and he wants the opportunity to shut down big players. He leads the way for us and we’re lucky to have him.”

  • Matthews update: Matthews skated on his own Saturday. Keefe said he’s still considered day-to-day. Toronto plays Edmonton again Monday night. Matthews had missed one other game this season – a Jan. 22 tilt against Edmonton in Toronto, which the Leafs won 4-2.

Mark Zwolinski is a Toronto-based sports reporter for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @markzwol

Source : Toronto Star More