Node to node is also known as a hop. Ensuring reliability over one hop and leaving remaining hops in the data path with unknown reliability would be beneficial if that hop was inherently more unreliable, e.g. a wireless link. Wireless protocols such as 802.11 and 802.15.4 (e.g. ZigBee) might have to add Ack/Nak and retry features in order to attain a minimal level of reliability similar to a wired network. Modern wired 802.3 Ethernet using a star configuration is typically quite reliable over one hop even without any Ack/Nak overhead. Wireless on the other hand can be very unreliable, and a reliable link-layer protocol could enhance (or at least not degrade) throughput of a mixed-wired-and-wireless network.
TCP achieves its reliability (in spite of using (unreliable) IP as its underlying protocol) basically by using Ack and Nak responses by the receiver and timeouts on the transmitter to determine if the packet has been delivered. A Nak response or response timeout requires a retransmission of the original packet. Packets are also tagged with sequence numbers to detect missing packets or out-of-order arrival and to perform proper ordering of the received packets.
A link-layer protocol can improve its reliability by employing similar Ack/Nak/timeout techniques. Although having several protocol layers perform this may seem redundant, overall network performance could benefit because the retransmissions (when necessary) would be localized to just the link(s) that had the message failure.