The Toronto Maple Leafs snapped New Jersey‘s 13-game winning streak on Wednesday night, 2-1, leaving the Devils one win shy of a franchise record.
John Tavares and Pontus Holmberg had first-period goals for the Leafs. Dougie Hamilton had the Devils’ lone goal with 5:08 left in the third period. Toronto goalie Matt Murray made 34 saves and was the beneficiary of three New Jersey goals that were disallowed — the third of which caused fans to litter the ice in protest in the third period, forcing the Leafs to briefly retreat to the locker room area.
The Devils tied a franchise record with 13 consecutive wins when they defeated the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night. New Jersey previously won 13 straight games from Feb. 16 to March 23, 2001. The current streak started Oct. 25 and fueled New Jersey’s stunning surge to the top of the Metropolitan Division (16-4-0) after finishing 28th in the NHL last season.
Wednesday’s game was marred by a delay in the third period when fans in New Jersey littered the ice following the third instance in which a Devils goal was disallowed.
The Devils failed on a coach’s challenge for goalie interference in the first period, as the NHL Situation Room ruled that forward Nathan Bastian “had a significant presence in the crease which impaired Matt Murray’s ability to play his position.” Another goal was disallowed when it was ruled that Devils forward Tomas Tatar made incidental contact with Murray prior to the puck entering the net.
The moment that caused the third-period delay was an apparent goal by the Devils’ Erik Haula that was waved off because he kicked the puck off of Leafs forward Nick Robertson. Toronto’s players and coaches left the ice and their bench as fans tossed garbage in protest, even as Devils players signaled for them to stop.
Hamilton’s goal in the third period turned that anger into cheers, giving the Devils late momentum. But they couldn’t get the equalizer, and their epic winning streak was stopped one victory short of a franchise record.