Reigning Calder Trophy recipient Auston Matthews has plenty of reason to be confident after scoring the overtime victor in Monday's 4-3 victory over Chicago and shredding New Jersey for six points (three goals, three assists) in three meetings last season.
In Washington, Patric Hornqvist scored a power-play goal and assisted on another in his season debut to help Pittsburgh edge the hosts in their first meeting since the playoffs.
"Hockey's fair. You get what you deserve". But I expected us to compete and that didn't happen. "I can't remember the last time we played with that kind of effort".
Tied 2-2 after 20 minutes - a score Babcock said flattered the Leafs "big-time" - New Jersey (3-0-0) pulled ahead with a pair in the second period despite being outshot 17-12.
Devils play-by-play announcer Steve Cangialosi cautions that despite a strong start, New Jersey supporters shouldn't get too excited just yet for this year's team.
A key moment came late in the period with the Devils taking two minors on the same play.
The MSG Network commentator said that New Jersey (2-0-0) started out similarly hot in 2014 before fizzling off and eventually firing head coach Peter DeBoer before Christmas.
"That's a huge one", Toronto's James van Riemsdyk said.
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ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (3-0-0): While Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner grab the headlines, Toronto boasts significant depth with 13 different goal scorers and 19 individual players recording at least one point.
Van Riemsdyk and Dominic Moore also scored for Toronto (3-1-0) before 19,103 at the Air Canada Centre. Four of New Jersey goals came from the bottom six forwards.
The Devils (3-0-0) made a decision to do the scoring instead.
After Van Riemsdyk opened the scoring on the power play at 8:33, New Jersey answered with two Wood goals before Moore tied it up at 2-2. Finally, at 9:58 of the second period, Zacha took a shot on Toronto's Frederik Andersen for his first shot - and first goal - of the year.
Hornqvist assisted on a goal by Kris Letang, the defenseman's first since February 4 after missing the end of last season and playoffs because of neck surgery. Van Riemsdyk was in the box for slashing. The 1917-18 team scored 27.
No. 1 overall pick Nico Hischier was between the two Swedes on the Devils' second line.
ABOUT THE DEVILS (2-0-0): Jesper Bratt, who joined Marcus Johansson by scoring two goals and setting up another against the Sabres, is the first player in franchise history to record five points through the first two games of his career.