3 Takeaways From the Devils’ Loss to the Maple Leafs – 11/23/22

Bizarre, chaotic, and bonkers. These are some of the adjectives used to describe the events Wednesday night at Prudential Center when the New Jersey Devils hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Devils’ 13-game winning streak has officially come to an end in a frustrating loss that involved overturned goals, questionable officiating, and fans taking matters into their own hands. Let’s break down three takeaways from the Devils’ loss to the Maple Leafs.

Bad Things Happen in 3 for the Devils

It is extremely rare to see three goals get overturned in one game, but that is exactly what happened in Newark, New Jersey. Each period the officials called back a goal that the Devils scored, which led to a frustrating night for head coach Lindy Ruff and his squad. Here is a quick breakdown of why each goal was disallowed.

Lindy Ruff, New Jersey Devils
Head coach Lindy Ruff, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

First Goal: Goaltender Interference

Halfway through the first frame, Jonas Siegenthaler celebrated his second goal of the season. As quickly as the puck found the back of the net, the referee was there to call the goal off. It was determined that Nathan Bastian interfered with Matt Murray‘s ability to move within his crease. The Devils website broke down why the goal was disallowed:

“Video review confirmed New Jersey’s Nathan Bastian had significant presence in the crease which impaired Matt Murray’s ability to play his position. The decision was made in accordance with Rule 69.1 which states, in part, “Goals should be disallowed only if: (1) an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal.”

Second Goal: Goaltender Interference

Murray left his crease to play the puck and on his way back to the blue paint he was bumped by Tomas Tatar. After the game, he told the media that the Devils forward prevented him from getting back to his crease.

Third Goal: Distinct Kicking Motion

The third goal was disallowed because it was determined Erik Haula kicked the puck into the net at the right post. The Maple Leafs goaltender made the initial save against Haula, who proceeded to kick in the rebound.

Frustrations Finally Boiled Over

After the game, Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe summed up the atmosphere at Prudential Center best.

“It was an intense atmosphere right from the start of the game. That was the most engaged I have seen fans here in New Jersey in my time in the league. You can tell they are really excited about this team.”

For a third straight game Prudential Center had a sold-out crowd and it had a playoff atmosphere from the very beginning when the starting lineup was being announced. Fans made sure to make their feelings known about the first two disallowed goals, but something snapped when Haula’s goal got called back in the third period.

Without hesitation fans began throwing trash and full cans of beer onto the ice. It became so dangerous that everyone on Toronto’s bench briefly headed back to the locker room. At one point Haula was on the ice waving for fans to stop, but it was too late, as Beer and soda splashed onto the ice while the house DJ blasted Sabotage by the Beastie Boys.

After the game Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner addressed the media and talked about the bizarre moment.

“Its full beers, it’s dangerous,” he said. “We’re not looking for that [and] we are not seeing it coming. We dodged a couple. … it’s a dangerous thing. I don’t know why it’s our fault. It’s not like they are throwing it just for joy, they are throwing it to try and hit us. It’s the first I’ve ever seen. It’s insane.”

Media members in the press box agreed they have never seen anything like that happen during a game. Devils head coach Lindy Ruff talked about the crowd and simply said, “we’ve got passionate fans.”

Devils’ Winning Streak Ends at 13

The Maple Leafs eventually won the game by a final score of 2-1 getting goals from John Tavares and Pontus Holmberg. Dougie Hamilton finally scored with a little over five minutes left in the third period, but the Devils were unable to score the game-tying goal.

Related: Devils’ Star Players Stellar in 13th Straight Win

Their magical run came to an extremely controversial end as the team suffered their first loss since Oct. 24. The memorable winning streak tied the franchise record for consecutive wins in a single season, which was earned from Feb. 26, 2001, to March 23, 2001, per Devils PR. The Devils are now 7-1-0 in one-goal games this season and 9-1-0 against Canadian opponents.

After the game Haula told Devils media, “If it was going to end, it was going to end like that. Just a complete hurricane out there.”

Erik Haula New Jersey Devils
Erik Haula, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Devils are scheduled for a noon practice today at RWJBarnabas Health Hockey House. On Nov. 25 they will face the Buffalo Sabres, who are 9-11-0 this season, at Keybank Center. It will be interesting to see how this team responds after last night’s loss, and it will be another test for Ruff’s club. Veteran Brendan Smith spoke with the media and said he understands how important their next game is.

“It will be absolutely huge. That game will show the maturity level, and I’ve been very impressed. There’s going to be times this year where we’re going to be tested with adversity and it’s what you do with that. That will show what a good club is.”