The New Jersey Devils saw their 13-game winning streak come to an end after losing 2-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night.
The defeat came with its fair share of drama as the red-hot devils were controversially disallowed three goals.
At first, Devils defender Jonas Siegenthaler thought he had opened the scoring in the first half, but his record was nullified when officials found forward Nathan Bastian interfering with Leafs goaltender Matt Murray in the crease.
The Devils thought they shot into an empty cage in the second half, but once again it didn’t count as forward Tomas Tatar Murray clipped down the side of the net after the keeper played the puck.
Finally, Erik Haula appeared to get the Devils on the board in the third period, but no goal was scored because the puck was kicked into the net.
Devils captain Nico Hischier said the calls were “definitely frustrating”.
“There’s nothing we can do,” he said. “The referees make the decisions and that’s not going to change. So we have to stick with that and I think we’ve done a good job with that.”
Prudential Center fans expressed their displeasure by throwing debris onto the ice.
Maple Leafs captain John Tavares was not impressed by the scene.
“It’s disappointing. It’s dangerous,” he said after the game Mark Masters by TSN. “Yes, it is what it is. I think tonight it felt better to beat the crowd than the Devils.”
Star winger Mitch Marner echoed his teammate’s comments.
“It’s full beers. It is dangerous. We’re not looking for it. We don’t see it coming. A few dodged. … I don’t know (why) that it’s our fault. … They throw it to try hit us. It’s the first I’ve ever seen. It’s crazy. “
Dougie Hamilton eventually brought New Jersey into play with just over five minutes remaining. However, it wasn’t enough. Tavares started the goal in the first frame after burying a hard-working feed from Marner, who extended his points streak to 14 games.
Toronto rookie Pontus Holmberg extended the lead just over two minutes later with his first NHL goal after pouncing on a turnover. The marker stood as the eventual game winner.
New Jersey overtook the Maple Leafs 35-20.
The Devils’ most violent push came in the third half, when New Jersey controlled 74.2% of shot attempts, 82.4% of chances to score, 77.8% of chances at risk, and 72.7% of goals expected in five-for-five. five, per natural stat trick.
“The fight was great,” said Devils head coach Lindy Ruff said of his team’s effort despite the disallowed hits. “We left some good chances out there. … This is a tough league; there are many different ways to lose.”
The Devils were one win away from setting a new franchise record for longest winning streak.
“It’s another challenge. Nobody feels good. I don’t feel good,” Ruff said of the end of his team’s run. “That’s the first thing I said: I don’t like the feeling. I don’t like losing. And I know it’s been a while, but you don’t like that feeling.
“Now you have to get over it and prepare for your next game. … We need to be able to answer the bell and continue to prove that we can be the team that could pull all of these games together. “