New Jersey Devils fans were unimpressed by the referee after three goals against the Toronto Maple Leafs were disallowed on Wednesday. (Getty Images)
On Wednesday, things got worse in New Jersey.
The New Jersey Devils, looking for their 14th consecutive victory with the Toronto Maple Leafs in town on Wednesday, appeared to take the lead in the first period as forward Nathan Bastian sent goaltender Matt Murray behind the puck. The on-ice call was not a goal, as the officials considered goaltender interference.
The Devils requested that the game be reviewed, but the Situation Room stood by the on-ice decision, claiming that Bastien actually interfered with Murray and prevented him from playing his position.
Referee Justin Kea skated to the center of the ice to announce the call, but he stumbled over his words and mistakenly called it a fair goal, then immediately stopped to make the proper call. The fans booed him and the Devils players were stunned that the call was not withdrawn.
The video quickly went viral as fans wondered if the umpires weren’t already drunk ahead of the weekend’s Thanksgiving celebration. Some commented on the fact that the league didn’t want the Maple Leafs to lose to the red-hot Devils, while others theorized that Kea botched the call because he knew the Devils’ welfare should have been allowed.
The NHL interpreted the call as saying that Bastien had a significant presence in the crease, which hindered Matt Murray’s ability to salvage the game.
To make matters worse for the Devils, another goal was not allowed for New Jersey in the second period. Forward Tomas Tatar skated around the Maple Leafs net and collided with Murray when the goaltender played the puck into the back of the net, causing him to fall to the ice. While down, Tatar redirected the puck into an empty net. However, the goal was disallowed.
Many fans again expressed their displeasure on social media, stating that Tatar’s contact with Murray outside the crease was an accident and therefore the goal should have counted.
Of course, the bad luck didn’t end there, as New Jersey did another The goal was called back, this time because of the kicking motion.
To be fair, this may have been the least controversial phone call of the night.
With their historic winning streak in danger of being lost 2-0 in the third period, fans vented their frustration to the umpires and threw everything within reach onto the playing surface.
The Leafs would hang on for a 2-1 victory, ending the Devils’ 13-game winning streak in heartbreaking fashion.
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