Elias reaches milestone, helps Devils past PanthersJan 7, 2012 - 4:05 AM
Elias had a goal and two assists and joined Ken Daneyko and teammate Martin Brodeur as the only players to reach the 1,000-game mark as career-long Devils.
Since being selected in the second round of the 1994 draft by the Devils, Elias has gone on to become New Jersey's all-time regular-season leader in just about every single offensive category.
"I was pretty excited to play this game. Even if it's your first NHL game I think the adrenalin and excitement is the same," Elias said.
Kovalchuk had two goals for the Devils, who snapped a two-game skid, while Adam Henrique and Zach Parise both had a goal and an assist.
Johan Hedberg made 22 saves for the victors.
Mikael Samuelsson and Krystofer Barch lit the lamp for the Panthers, who have lost two in a row and six of eight. Jacob Markstrom turned aside 24-of-27 shots. Barch returned from a one-game suspension for uttering a racial remark in the direction of Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban last week.
With the score tied at 2-2, Elias and Kovalchuk hooked up for the go-ahead goal at the 11:40 mark of the third period. Elias carried the puck down the left wing and to the bottom of the circle before passing in front to Kovalchuk, whose tip-in found the back of the net.
Parise was sent to the penalty box for a delay of game with 2:52 to play and Florida pulled Markstrom with 30 seconds left on the power play for a two-man advantage.
But Kovalchuk's empty-net goal made it a 4-2 contest. Parise also added an empty-net goal to account for the final margin.
The Devils drew first blood at the 3:53 mark of the first period. Parise won a battle for the puck behind the net and slid a pass in front for Henrique, whose backhander beat Markstrom.
Samuelsson tied the game exactly four minutes later on a snap shot from the top of the right circle.
Elias' slapper from the high slot made it a 2-1 game just 36 seconds into the middle stanza.
The back-and-forth battle continued about two minutes later. Barch's snap shot from the slot got past Hedberg to make it 2-2.
Florida has lost five of seven and 11 of its last 14 at New Jersey...Ex-Devil John Madden made his Panthers debut on Friday...The Devils were without Travis Zajac (left Achilles tendon soreness) and Anton Volchenkov (right leg strain)...The Panthers have been outscored 28-9 over a six-game slide on the road (0-3-3).
- FLORIDA: 2
NEW JERSEY: 5
Jan 6 9:34 PM
- New Jersey Empty Net Goal - Zach Parise (14), from Patrik Elias at 19:20.
Panthers 2, Devils 5 3rd - 0:40Jan 6 9:29 PM
- New Jersey Short-Handed Empty Net Goal - Ilya Kovalchuk (14), from Bryce Salvador at 19:00.
Panthers 2, Devils 4 3rd - 1:00Jan 6 9:28 PM
- New Jersey Goal - Ilya Kovalchuk (13), from Patrik Elias at 11:40.
Panthers 2, Devils 3 3rd - 8:20Jan 6 9:11 PM
- FLORIDA: 2
NEW JERSEY: 2
End of 2nd
Jan 6 8:35 PM
- Dainius Zubrus snap shot on Jacob Markstrom.
Panthers 2, Devils 2 2nd - 16:45Jan 6 8:06 PM
- New Jersey Goal - Patrik Elias, at :36.
Panthers 1, Devils 2 2nd - 19:24Jan 6 8:01 PM
- FLORIDA: 1
NEW JERSEY: 1
End of 1st
Jan 6 7:43 PM
- Florida Goal - Mikael Samuelsson (2), at 7:33.
Panthers 1, Devils 1 1st - 12:27Jan 6 7:22 PM
- New Jersey Goal - Adam Henrique (11), from Zach Parise at 3:53.
Panthers 0, Devils 1 1st - 16:07Jan 6 7:14 PM
- FLORIDA: 0
NEW JERSEY: 0
1st Period - 20:00
Jan 6 7:08 PM
- US beats Czechs at worlds to set up semifinal with May 19
- Panthers make Tallon president, Rowe GM May 16
- Capitals assistant Reirden a 'future head coach' in the NHL May 13
- Devils' Patrik Elias, Cory Schneider both undergo surgery May 12
- Florida Panthers, Erik Gudbranson agree on 1-year deal May 9
- Canada pounds US 5-1 in world championship opener May 6
- Trotz, Ruff, Gallant are Jack Adams Award finalists May 5
- Jaromir Jagr returning to Florida Panthers on 1-year deal May 5
- World championship offers audition for World Cup, draft May 5
- Calgary fires Bob Hartley, a season after coach of the year May 3
- Jagr, Dupuis, Zuccarello are Masterton finalists May 1
- Barkov, Eriksson, Kopitar are Lady Byng finalists Apr 30