Reputation vs. Résumé: New York's Chris Drury will be hard pressed to slow the proven postseason talents of Patrik Elias.newjerseydevils.com –
When the Devils needed a tying goal on Sunday, they got it from Patrik Elias
Trailing 2-1 in the second period of Game 3 at Madison Square Garden, Elias plucked Marc Staal's shorthanded clearing attempt out of mid-air before beating Henrik Lundqvist with his first of the playoffs.
It was another pivotal postseason play by the Devils' forward, who has made a career of producing in the clutch. Zach Parise
added New Jersey's third of the night, John Madden won it in overtime as the Devils posted their first victory in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal.
|Elias pressures Henrik Lundqvist in Game 3 at MSG. He would tie the game 2-2 in the second period of the Devils' 4-3 OT win. |
The Devils trail two games to one, and can reclaim home ice advantage in Wednesday's Game 4 at Madison Square Garden. Game 5 is set for Friday at Prudential Center.
Elias (1g-2a) will enter the game tied with Paul Martin (1g-2a) for the team lead in points, having already added to his impressive resume in the NHL's second season.
The Trebic, Czech Rep., native holds the Devils' all-time records for postseason goals (36), assists (71), and points (107), establishing himself as one of the league's elite big-game players.
New Jersey's second choice, 51st overall, in the 1994 Entry Draft, Elias made his playoff debut in 1997. Just three years later he secured hockey's ultimate prize by setting up Jason Arnott for the championship-clinching goal in Game 6 of the 2000 Stanley Cup Finals.
Elias tied for the team points lead (7g-13a-20pts) that spring, then went on to set a club record with nine goals and 14 assists for 23 points in 2001.
A perennial playoff threat, Elias would lead the Devils in scoring for three straight postseasons heading into the Devils' third Stanley Cup title run in 2003. Though Elias would finish fifth in scoring that year (5g-8a), he delivered when it arguably counted the most – in the Finals.
Facing the then Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Elias revved up his offense and collected three goals and four assists for seven points as the Devils took the series in seven games for their third Stanley Cup.
Last postseason the 10-year veteran notched a goal and nine assists in 10 games, including three assists in the Eastern quarterfinal-clincher against Tampa, to become the first Devil in history to reach the 100-point mark.
Most important for the Devils in the days ahead is that Elias is no stranger to playoff success against the Rangers. He led the way with five goals and six assists in New Jersey's first-round sweep of their cross-river rivals in 2006, tying John MacLean's club record for points in a series (11).
If the Devils are to tie the series after falling behind 0-2, expect contributions from Elias to be a part of the mix. There's plenty of past evidence – and Stanley Cup titles – to suggest that he's capable of spurring a series rally one big play at a time.