Jimmy Howard stopped 21 shots for his 21st career shutout for the Red Wings, who won their season-opening game and dropped Toronto to 0-2 with its $50 million coach.
The Maple Leafs lured Babcock away from Detroit with an eight-year contract that more than doubled what any other coach is making is making per season in the league.
Abdelkader scored on Detroit's first shot, making the most of a power play 1:15 into the game. He had another goal midway through the first period off a centering pass from Larkin. Abdelkader completed the hart trick at 3:54 of the second.