Things got ugly in New Jersey on Wednesday.
The New Jersey Devils, seeking a 14th consecutive win with the Toronto Maple Leafs in town on Wednesday, appeared to take the lead in the first period when forward Nathan Bastian redirected the puck past goalie Matt Murray. The call on the ice was no goal due to what the officials considered to be goaltender interference.
The Devils asked for the play to be reviewed, but the situation room stuck with the on-ice decision, claiming that Bastian did indeed interfere with Murray and prevented him from playing his position.
Referee Justin Kea skated to centre ice to announce the call, but he tripped over his words and mistakenly called it a good goal, then immediately stopped himself to make the right call. Fans booed him and the Devils’ players were left stunned that the call was not overturned.
The video quickly went viral as fans wondered if the referees were not already inebriated ahead of the weekend’s Thanksgiving celebrations. Some commented on how the league might not want the Maple Leafs to lose to the red-hot Devils, while others theorized whether Kea messed up the call because he knew the Devils’ good should have been allowed.
The NHL explained the call, stating that Bastian had a significant presence in the crease, which impaired Matt Murray’s ability to make a save on the play.
To make matters worse for the Devils, another goal was disallowed for New Jersey in the second period. Forward Tomas Tatar skated around the Maple Leafs’ net and bumped into Murray as the goalie played the puck behind the net, knocking him to the ice. While he was down, Tatar redirected the puck into the empty net. However, the goal was deemed no good.
Many fans voiced their displeasure again on social media, stating that Tatar’s contact with Murray out of the crease was incidental and therefore the goal should have counted.
Of course, the bad luck didn’t stop there, as New Jersey had yet another goal called back, this time for a kicking motion.
This may be the least controversial call of the night, to be fair.
With their historic winning streak seriously threatened down 2-0 in the third period, fans made their frustration known to the officials, throwing anything within reach onto the playing surface.
The Leafs would hang on for a 2-1 win, ending the Devils’ 13-game winning streak in heartbreaking fashion.
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