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Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34) scores on Colorado Avalanche goaltender Jonas Johansson (31) during first period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

That is five wins in a row, 10 in the past 11 games, 15 in 17 and an NHL-best 35 points for the Maple Leafs.

Just back from a four-game sweep on the road, Toronto jumped all over the Colorado Avalanche early and emerged with a 8-3 triumph that had the crowd singing at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday night.

In the first 14 1/2 minutes, William Nylander scored on a breakaway, Jason Spezza tapped in a rebound and a wide-open Auston Matthews netted a puck from directly in front of shellshocked goalie Jonas Johansson. It was the first of three for Toronto’s superstar centre.

“I liked our start for sure,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “Playing with the lead is important, especially against this team.”

The Avalanche had won eight of its previous nine games but was buried beneath a pile of goals. Johansson, who ended up in the crease after starter Darcy Kuemper suffered an upper-body injury during the morning skate, allowed all eight on 41 shots.

Along with Matthews, Nylander and Spezza, Toronto also got goals from John Tavares, Travis Dermott and Pierre Engvall. Jack Campbell had 28 saves in his league-leading 13th win of the season.

“We came out and continued to play the way we have for a while now,” Campbell said. “I am happy for everybody. It was a great team win.”

Toronto will attempt to extend its winning streak on Saturday in Minnesota against the Wild before it visits Winnipeg on Sunday and Columbus on Tuesday. Its next home game is Dec. 9 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The former Maple Leaf Nazem Kadri scored twice for Colorado, which also got a goal from Samuel Girard.

The decisive defeat ruined Kadri’s return. After nine seasons and 561 games with the Maple Leafs, the gritty centre was traded to the Avalanche on July 1, 2019 in the deal that sent Tyson Barrie and Alexander Kerfoot to Toronto.

Kadri entered the game tied for fourth in scoring in the NHL with 27 points in 18 games and had 11 in the previous 12. He grew up in southwestern Ontario and was drafted by Toronto in the first round in 2009.

“When it happened it was a bit of a bitter situation, but it ended up bittersweet,” Kadri said on Wednesday morning. “I was put in a great situation coming to the Avalanche and being around great guys.

“Of course, I was upset. [Toronto] is where I wanted to be. But sometimes it can be a blessing in disguise.”

Because of scheduling and interruptions caused by COVID-19, it was Kadri’s first game in Toronto since the trade.

Earlier in the day he was chosen the league’s third star for November, during which he had four goals and 17 assists in 10 games. The goals in the loss were his eighth and ninth.

“He is having a heck of a year, and we miss him on this side,” Matthews said before the puck dropped. “When he plays like he is, he definitely has a pop in his step. He is a guy you want to have on your team but is not fun to play against.”

Kadri was suspended during the playoffs twice before his departure from Toronto, and was suspended again during the postseason already in Colorado.

“I know every single guy in the locker room loved having him around,” Matthews said. “He was a competitor every single night for us. What more can you ask for.”

With the victory, the Maple Leafs improved to 17-6-1 and leap-frogged over the Florida Panthers for the top spot in the NHL’s Atlantic Division. Colorado dropped to 11-7-1.

Matthews was clean-shaven for the first time since last season and it obviously agreed with him. He had his famous moustache shaved off in the morning. The 24-year-old agreed to do it as part of a Movember campaign during which he helped raise $147,406 to support men’s health, including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.

He turned heads when he arrived at the rink early in the day.

“I asked who the new guy was in the meeting,” Keefe said.

“I definitely did a couple of double-takes,” Campbell said. “He looks 17 again.”

The game was Colorado’s first in Toronto since Dec. 4, 2019, a 3-1 Avalanche win. Entering the contest, it had won its past four games here and eight of the previous 10. So much for trends.

The Maple Leafs went 12-2 in November and entered the encounter as the hottest team in the league. They had the Avalanche, which fell to 11-7-1, reeling from the start.

Nylander scored four and a half minutes after the puck drop after a sweet pass from Tavares

Spezza, who played in his 1,200th NHL game in Anaheim on Saturday, increased the lead to 2-0 with 12:03 left in the period when he tapped in a rebound off a shot by Nick Ritchie.

Matthews made it 3-0 when Mitch Marner found him alone in front of Johansson with 5:36 before the first intermission.

Girard netted his second goal of the season with an assist from Nathan MacKinnon, who returned to Colorado’s  lineup after missing eight games with a lower-body injury. The star centre had 10 points in eight games this season and is a big part of Colorado’s potent offence.

It didn’t matter much on a night where his team was picked apart like a left-over Thanksgiving turkey.

All in all, it was another impressive victory. Matthews scored his 11th, 12th and 13th goals, and Tavares and Michael Bunting each had a three-point night. Nylander, Marner and Alexander Kerfoot had two points apiece. Fourteen different players found their way onto the scoresheet.

The fact that it is becoming ordinary makes it extraordinary.