“It’s important for us to be able to come in and play a team like this and be able to find a way to win the game,” coach John Hynes said. “I think there’s lots of lessons to be learned from this game, even though we won it, it’s been a different game than our first two. Handling the momentum in certain areas, we didn’t handle it as well, but I think it’s a confidence-booster for us to be able to come in and play with them. It’s much better to learn lessons and get better through winning than losing.”
James van Riemsdyk, Dominic Moore and Auston Matthews scored for the Maple Leafs (3-1-0). Frederik Andersen made 25 saves.
The Devils scored twice in the second period to break a 2-2 tie.
Zacha beat Andersen for a power-play goal at 9:58 for a 3-2 lead. The Maple Leafs got a two-minute 5-on-3 power play after Zacha was called for hooking and defenseman John Moore was called for cross checking at 14:44, but Gibbons scored a shorthanded goal 10 seconds later to give New Jersey a 4-2 lead.
New Jersey killed off the remaining 1:50 of the two-man advantage for Toronto.
Coleman made it 5-2 at 3:35 of the third period when he knocked down Maple Leafs defenseman Calle Rosen‘s clearing attempt and put a wrist shot past Andersen’s glove from the high slot.
“We knew it might be a 4-3, 5-3, 6-4 type game tonight, so when it was 2-2 in the first, we were happy with that,” Schneider said. “We just said, ‘All right, let’s not let it get away from us here, let’s get the next one.’ That 3-on-5 goal was enormous and then the one early in the third by Blake, it gave us a little more breathing room because we’ve seen them do it before, they can score four or five goals in a period.”
Matthews scored his third goal on a 5-on-3 power play at 13:34 to get Toronto to within 5-3, but Zacha scored his second of the season at 17:21 to make it 6-3.
“It was 2-2 after one, but that flattered us at the time. We never had any time engaged,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “We talked quite a bit about this game coming up and how it was going to be. That’s exactly what I expected, but I expected us to compete, and that didn’t happen. Hockey is fair, you get what you deserve, and that’s what we deserved tonight.”
Van Riemsdyk scored a power-play goal at 8:33 of the first period to put Toronto up 1-0, but Wood scored twice in 1:38 to give New Jersey the lead.
He deflected a Steven Santini point shot past Andersen at 9:07 to tie the game 1-1 with his first goal of the season. Then, after Rosen turned over the puck at the blue line, Wood beat Andersen with a wrist shot at 10:45 to put the Devils up 2-1.
At 13:33 of the first period, Moore deflected a Nikita Zaitsev point shot past Schneider to tie it 2-2.
Goal of the game
Rookie forward Jesper Bratt carried the puck from the blue line to below the goal line in the right corner and passed to Marcus Johansson behind the net. Johansson quickly returned a pass to Bratt, who found Zacha at the top of the crease for a one-timer to put the Devils ahead.
Save of the game
Nazem Kadri set up Patrick Marleau in the slot, but Schneider lifted his right arm to make a save on a shot that was headed for the left corner of the net at 6:03 of the third period.
Highlight of the game
Wood came through the neutral zone with speed and stole the puck from Rosen before skating in alone on Andersen and putting a wrist shot in high to the blocker side for his second goal of the night.
They said it
“This was a step forward for us. Heading into training camp a few weeks ago, we just worked from Day One. That’s how it’s been the last few weeks, and it’s certainly paid off in the first three games.” — Devils forward Miles Wood
“I thought Schneider was great and made a lot of really big saves. I think there was a time about halfway into the game where we got a lot of chances and he was making really good saves that helped his team a lot.” — Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly
Need to know
Gibbons’ shorthanded goal was the first at 3-on-5 in Devils history. … The Maple Leafs had a 79-50 advantage in shot attempts in all situations and 49-31 at 5-on-5.
Devils: Host the Washington Capitals on Friday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, NBCSWA, NHL.TV)
Maple Leafs: At the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, CBC, TVA Sports, NHL.TV)