The New Jersey Devils' franchise-record winning streak is over. After collecting 13 straight victories, tied for the fifth-longest streak in NHL history, the Devils saw their improbable run snapped by the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Prudential Center on Wednesday.
Toronto scored two goals in the game's first 15 minutes -- one from Pontus Holmberg and another from John Tavares -- before the game turned into a defensive stalemate, with New Jersey failing to respond until a goal from Dougie Hamilton at 14:52 in the third period. The Hamilton goal turned out to be all the Devils had, as they lost 2-1 the night before Thanksgiving.
Though the Devils struggled to make a mark on the scoreboard, it wasn't from a lack of effort. Not one, not two, but three of their goals were disallowed, leading fans to express their displeasure with the officiating by throwing beer onto the ice.
New Jersey was looking to win its 14th straight game, which would've been the longest streak in franchise history. The team has only won 13 in a row one other time, and that was in 2001.
Wednesday's loss marked the Devils' first since Oct. 24, when the Capitals beat them 6-3. They proceeded to go on a run few, if any, expected, winning 13 in a row -- including six games over two Canada road trips -- with a 56-24 goal differential. The remarkable streak helped New Jersey start the season 16-3, just behind the Bruins (17-2) for the second-best record in the NHL.
The top of the NHL standings has been unfamiliar territory for the Devils over the last few years. New Jersey last made the playoffs in 2017-18, and every season since they finished either last or second to last in the Metropolitan Division.
Regardless of the winning streak ending, coach Lindy Ruff has to be an early candidate for the Jack Adams Award because of his team's huge turnaround and the development of young, burgeoning stars Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes.