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. Coach Mike Babcock’s charges look to continue to give the scoreboard operator a workout and bid for their first 4-0-0 start in since 2010-11 when they host the upstart New Jersey Devils on Wednesday .
“I think it’s good to have a little bit of swagger and confidence as a group,” Toronto forward Matt Martin told TSN after practice on Tuesday. Reigning Calder Trophy recipient Auston Matthews has plenty of reason to be confident after scoring the overtime winner in Monday’s 4-3 victory over Chicago and shredding New Jersey for six points (three goals, three assists) in three meetings last season. “He can release it from anywhere,” Devils forward Taylor Hall told TSN when asked about the 20-year-old Matthews. “He gets full wood on every one of his shots no matter where it comes off his stick. We were watching the game live on TV and his release is so quick and so hard to read coming off his stick.” New Jersey has been turning heads on the heels of a disastrous 2016-17 season, scoring three times on the power play in its opener before riding a four-goal second period in a 6-2 rout of Buffalo on Monday afternoon.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NHL.TV, MSG (New Jersey), Sportsnet (Toronto)
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. “He’s a really good hockey player already. He’s young and he just got over here,” Johansson said of the 19-year-old Bratt, per NJ.com. “It’s fun to watch, and I think everyone can agree on that. If he keeps going at this pace, it’s going to be pretty impressive.” Workhorse goaltender Cory Schneider has been impressive in his own right, boasting a stellar 6-1-3 mark with a .925 save percentage in his career versus Toronto.
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. Nazem Kadri has two power-play goals this season and recorded four points in three encounters in 2016-17 against the Devils. Frederik Andersen will get the start versus New Jersey, against which he owns a 3-0-0 mark with a .949 save percentage in his career.
1. Toronto LW James van Riemsdyk has three power-play points (one goal, two assists) this season, while New Jersey rookie D Will Butcher has collected three assists with the man advantage.
2. Devils C Adam Henrique, who is from Ontario, was limited to just one assist in three encounters versus the Maple Leafs last season.
3. Toronto D Connor Carrick will sit out against New Jersey with an upper-body injury despite practicing on Tuesday.
PREDICTION: Maple Leafs 5, Devils 2