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Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares, right, celebrates his goal against the New Jersey Devils with Rasmus Sandin, centre, and Timothy Liljegren during the first period. The Maple Leafs won 2-1 on Nov. 23, 2022, in Newark, N.J.Adam Hunger/The Associated Press

The New Jersey Devils’ franchise-record tying 13-game winning streak came to an ugly end, real ugly.

Matt Murray made 34 saves and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Devils 2-1 Wednesday night in a game in which New Jersey had three goals disallowed. The final disallowed goal resulted in fans pelting the ice with debris, causing play to be stopped for more than five minutes.

“Nobody feels good. I don’t feel good,” said Devils coach Lindy Ruff, whose team also hit two goalposts. “I don’t like the feeling. I don’t like the losing; I know it’s been a while, but you don’t want that feeling. Now you gotta get over that and get ready for your next game.”

While the Maple Leafs enjoyed their seventh win in 11 games (7-1-3) and the goals by John Tavares and Pontus Holmberg, they were miffed about the debris, including cans of beer, that whizzed by their heads.

“You take cover,” said Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe, whose team briefly went to the locker room. “It’s all you can do. I’ve been through that experience a few other times ... but I felt like it could get dangerous.”

The three overturned goals riled the sellout crowd at the Prudential Center, but the calls appeared correct.

Goals by Nate Bastian and Damon Severson waved off in the first and second periods, respectively, for goaltender interference. A short-handed tally by Erik Haula was overruled by officials because he kicked the puck into the net. The fact the puck hit off the stake off a Leafs’ player didn’t alter the ruling.

Haula skated onto the ice to try to get the fans to stop tossing debris.

“I don’t care if I get a beer spilt on me but I got gear on. There’s other people there and you’d hate to see somebody get knocked with something in the head,” said Haula, who added he was hit by a chicken finger.

Toronto became the first team to beat the Devils (16-4) since Washington on Oct. 24.

“We needed to get a win here today, no matter who we’re playing,” Keefe said. “I mean, that’s a tremendous hockey team over there. And they deserve everything that they’ve gotten here to date. ... This is a character win for our team.”

Dougie Hamilton scored on a tip-in with 5:08 to play, bringing the Prudential Center crowd into the game.

Murray made a half-dozen saves in the final minutes, stopping Jesper Bratt, Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier twice on good chances.

“At the end of the game, it was gritty,” Murray said.

The Devils’ winning streak tied for the fifth-longest in NHL history and was four games shy of the record set by Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1993. New Jersey’s other 13-game run was in 2001.

“It’s definitely frustrating, 100%, but nothing we can do,” Hischier said. “Refs make the call and there’s nothing that’s going to change it, so we got to stick with it ... .”

Murray was outstanding, particularly in the final 40 minutes, stopping 29 of 30 shots.

Mitch Marner set up Tavares’ 12th goal of the season, outworking Hamilton and Jonas Siegenthaler along the boards and behind the net and finding the Leafs captain in front, where he beat Vitek Vanecek at 11:41.

Less than three minutes later, Leafs defenceman Rasmus Sandin closed from the point to keep the puck in the Devils zone. It slid to Holmberg, who scored his first NHL goal at 14:03.


With Morgan Reilly out with a knee injury, Toronto acquired defenceman Conor Timmins from the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday for forward Curtis Douglas.

Timmons had no points in two games with the Coyotes this season. The 24-year-old has seven assists in 41 regular-season games for the Avalanche and Coyotes and no points in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Douglas, 22, was a fourth-round pick (No. 106) by the Dallas Stars in the 2018 NHL Draft. He had 34 points (13 goals, 21 assists) in 67 games last season with the Toronto Marlies (AHL).

NHL debut

Defenceman Mac Hollowell, who was recalled from Toronto of the AHL Tuesday, made his NHL debut. Victor Mete was also recalled from the Marlies but did not play.

Up next

Maple Leafs: At Minnesota on Friday afternoon in the second of a four-game trip.

Devils: At Buffalo on Friday night.