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Elias steals the show in Leafs-Devils Round 1

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- In a game that lived up to its billing, Patrik Elias stole the show.

Elias finished his fourth career hat trick 3:26 into overtime as the New Jersey Devils rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The game was a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference semifinals -- a series the Devils rallied to win in seven games after Toronto enforcer Tie Domi knocked out defenceman Scott Niedermayer with a vicious elbow.

Domi faced a welcoming party in his first game against the Devils since the incident. Jim McKenzie jumped him off a faceoff after an early goal and Randy McKay exchanged punches with him later in the first period.

With goaltender Curtis Joseph standing on his head, the Leafs had a 2-0 lead in the final minute of the second when Elias scored. He also tallied in the last minute of regulation to tie it.

The Devils took the momentum to overtime and were given a four-minute power play 54 seconds into the extra session after Robert Reichel clipped Petr Sykora with the blade of his stick.

Elias used a clever move to score the game-winner. He took a feed from Jason Arnott at the bottom of the left faceoff circle, and maneuvered from backhand to forehand to backhand before lifting a shot over Joseph.

The Devils overcame a 2-0 first-period deficit for the second straight game. They trailed by two goals in the opening 4:40 on Wednesday against Atlanta but stormed back for a 3-2 win.

Sykora and Brian Rafalski had a pair of assists in the latest comeback for New Jersey, which has won eight of nine games after opening the season with four losses.

Joseph was strong in making 26 saves, but the Leafs suffered their fourth straight road loss (0-2-0-2). They have won five consecutive home games in that span.

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