Two days after their 13-game winning streak came to an end, the New Jersey Devils will look to return to their winning ways when they visit the Buffalo Sabres on Friday.
The Devils lost 2-1 to the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, leaving New Jersey a win shy of setting the franchise mark for consecutive victories. They settled for matching the 13-game undefeated run from February and March 2001.
The Devils’ winning streak was four games shy of tying the NHL record set by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1993.
New Jersey’s streak has carried the Devils to the top of the Metropolitan Division.
The Devils’ streak didn’t end without controversy. New Jersey, which trailed 2-0 after the first period, had three goals disallowed, with the first two taken off the board due to goaltender interference.
The third one was disallowed after officials ruled Erik Haula kicked the puck into the net during a short-handed opportunity in the third period, despite it deflecting off a Maple Leafs player before crossing the goal line.
Spectators showed their displeasure by littering the ice with debris, causing a brief game delay as the Maple Leafs retreated to their locker room for safety.
“Nobody feels good. I don’t feel good,” said Devils coach Lindy Ruff, whose team also had two shots hit the goalpost. “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.”
Dougie Hamilton scored off assists from Yegor Sharangovich and Fabian Zetterlund to pull the Devils to within 2-1 with 5:08 remaining. But the Devils couldn’t get the equalizer past Matt Murray, who finished with 34 saves.
Vitek Vanecek made 18 saves for the Devils, who outshot Toronto 35-20.
Buffalo enters its first meeting of the season with New Jersey following a 6-2 win over visiting St. Louis on Wednesday, its second straight win after an eight-game losing streak.
The Sabres pulled away from a 1-1 tie by scoring three times in the second period to take a 4-1 lead into the final period, where Jack Quinn scored twice to extend the lead to 6-1.
Jeff Skinner also scored twice, while Dylan Cozens and Victor Olofsson added a goal apiece. Alex Tuch added two assists and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 34 saves.
The Sabres were outshot by the Blues, but Buffalo converted two of their three man-advantage opportunities, while St. Louis went 1-for-3 on the power play.
The Sabres, who ended the Blues’ seven-game winning streak, have scored 13 goals in their past two games after a 7-2 win at Montreal on Tuesday.
“It’s a tough league. It’s gonna be tough some nights, and you’re going to go through sort of different types of games, different types of adversity, and you just have to battle through that,” said Skinner, who has four goals and seven points in the past two games. “Hopefully, now we can keep this one rolling for a bit.”