Under a Rain of Boos and Booze: How the Devils' Historic Win Streak Came to a Sudden EndDate: November 24, 2022
By: Spencer Gonzales
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
The New Jersey Devils’ magical run came to a messy end on Wednesday night, as they were bested by the Toronto Maple Leafs, 2-1. Their 13-game winning streak will go down as one of the best stretches of play in Devils franchise history, but the way in which it ended will surely be a sore subject for fans for years to come.
After a dominant win over the Edmonton on Monday, New Jersey had all the confidence in the world heading into their matchup against Toronto.
The Devils started the game fast and physical on defense, which led to plenty of chances on the offensive side. After just seven minutes, New Jersey’s Jonas Siegenthaler rifled the puck toward the Toronto net, scoring what seemed to be the first goal of the game.
After a brief discussion between the officials and a Devils’ challenge, it was ruled that the puck bounced off of a player’s skate before entering the net, negating the goal and bringing it back to 0-0.
The fans were up in arms over the call, chanting their displeasure with the ruling, but the call was final, and the game continued on.
The next four minutes were all Toronto, as they applied heavy pressure on the New Jersey defense before it finally broke. Back-to-back, the Leafs scored quick fastbreak goals, the first being from John Tavares and the second being from Pontus Holmburg.
Going into the first intermission down 2-0 was not what the Devils had in plan for their big night. They finished the period disgruntled and sloppy, and were outshot by the Leafs 10-5. New Jersey was getting clean looks, but it seemed like luck just wasn’t on their side.
Not only were they having an off night shooting the puck, but Toronto’s Matt Murray was having an excellent outing in the net, going a perfect 21 for 21 on saves through two periods. Narrow misses, great goalie play, and yet another goal called back by the officials killed the Devils’ offense in the second period.
The fans yet again showed their displeasure toward the referees, as the boos and chants on the second callback lasted much longer than the first time around. From the high stakes of the game and the two controversial calls against the home team, tensions were boiling over at the Prudential Center, and it would only take one more nudge for things to get out of hand.
The last straw came after a third goal was called back for the Devils, this time on Erik Haula for kicking the puck into the net.
The boos from the crowd were piercing, and the frustration and anger of the fans swelled through the arena.
Then, a spectator threw a hat onto the ice. This was followed by a beer can, then another, and another. In the blink of an eye, the rink was showered in beer and debris from a fanbase that had been outraged all night.
The Devils fans are NOT happy after the disallowed goal— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) November 24, 2022
The Maple Leafs have headed to the locker room after fans littered the ice with items pic.twitter.com/MQXPxKx4X5
The boos continued long after the cleaning crew came on the ice to sweep up the puddles of booze and piles of cans, and wouldn’t stop until the Devils finally scored their first goal of the night that would stand.
14:52 into the final period, Dougie Hamilton cut to the net just as Yegor Sharangovich laid a beautiful feed in front of him, helping the Devils put themselves right back in striking distance.
FINALLY. pic.twitter.com/YacVHY38HN— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) November 24, 2022
New Jersey would have plenty of chances to tie it up in the waning minutes, but the goalie play from Murray was too strong to get past. The final seconds ticked off the clock, and the Devils would tally their first loss since Oct. 24, almost a full month later.
Vitek Vanecek finished with 20 saves on the night, while Murray would finish with 35 and a star. Siegenthaler and Hamilton would receive stars as well.
“We knew what the stakes were, but at the end of the day, I’m looking forward to the next one. I’m proud of this club… it’s hard to win in this league,” Brendan Smith said after the heartbreaking loss.
The Devils may have lost their chance at breaking their franchise record, but they get the opportunity to start a new winning streak on Friday, when they take on the Buffalo Sabers on the road. Check back to WSOU.net for more recaps on all things Devils, and make sure to follow us @WSOUSports.
Spencer Gonzales is the Sports Web Editor and an Assistant Sports Director at WSOU and can be reached at email@example.com.