The Devils benefited from a freaky 3-on-5 short-handed goal from Brian Gibbons to fuel a three-goal run between the second and third periods, allowing them to take control in a 6-3 win over the Leafs on Wednesday at the Air Canada Centre.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have erupted for 19 goals in their first three games of the season, the most by the club since it was known as the Arenas in 1917-18. Toronto improved to 3-0-0 Monday with a 4-3 overtime home win over the Blackhawks.
Jake Gardiner was unable to keep the puck in at the New Jersey blue line and two Devils broke in.
The Devils (3-0-0) chose to do the scoring instead. This season, Andersen has prepared for the possibility of playing the bulk of Toronto's games, consulting a nutritionist over the summer and coming to camp in what he said was the best condition of his career.
Gibbons' goal gave the Devils a 4-2 lead, and Blake Coleman capitalized on a Leafs turnover to give the Devils a 5-2 lead at 3:35 in the third period.
"That's a huge one", said Leafs winger James van Riemsdyk. "And that's exactly what I expected". Van Riemsdyk was in the box for slashing.
"Hockey's fair. You get what you deserve". "It's my job to go out there and be a productive player and a member of the franchise here and that's what I'm going to do and go from there and see what happens". "I can't remember the last time we played with that kind of effort". New Jersey answered 34 seconds later when Wood tipped in Steven Santini's shot from the point. William Nylander's backcheck swept the puck off Adam Henrique's stick but the puck unfortunately went straight off goalie Frederik Andersen to Brian Gibbons in front and the Devils winger made no mistake. The Devils' offensive run in the second period was enough to support him, led by two goals from Miles Wood and Pavel Zacha.
In his second tour of duty in Toronto, Andersen was fully healthy in the offseason, and able to fully prepare for what and the Leafs hope is a long year.
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. Nazem Kadri has two power-play goals this season and recorded four points in three encounters in 2016-17 against the Devils.
NOTES: The game was the 6,500th in Maple Leafs history.
New Jersey finished 27th in the league last season, some 25 points behind Toronto. Devils rookie defenseman Will Butcher had two assists.