NEWARK, N.J. -- Patrik Elias reached two milestones Tuesday to help the New Jersey Devils finally put together a winning streak.
Elias had three points on a goal and two assists, giving him 1,000 points on 399 goals and 601 assists in his NHL career, and the Devils defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 at Prudential Center for their second straight victory.
Elias helped the Devils jump out to a 3-0 lead in the first period with a goal and his 600th assist on Travis Zajac's shorthanded breakaway goal. Elias collected his 1,000th point on Mike Cammalleri's empty-net goal at 16:56 of the third period.
Elias has played in 1,187 games, all with the Devils.
"You guys talked about it [getting 1,000 points] before the season because it wasn't that far away, 17 points, so you'd think you'd get it maybe 20 or 25 games, but the way it's been going I forgot about it pretty quickly," Elias said. "I said today hopefully I get it by the end of the season. I'm glad it worked out tonight and I'm glad it contributed to a big win for us."
This is the first time the Devils (15-20-7) have won two in a row since Nov. 11-14, when they defeated the Minnesota Wild and Washington Capitals. The Devils defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2 on Saturday.
They can make it three in a row Thursday, when they play the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Boston will be facing New Jersey on a back-to-back after playing the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.
CZECH-ING OFF MILESTONES
scored a goal and added two assists, including his 600th NHL assist and 1,000th NHL point (399-601—1,000 in 1,187 GP), to power the Devils to a 4-1 win over the Sabres.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Elias is just the fifth Czech-born player in NHL history to record 1,000 NHL points, joining teammate Jaromir Jagr
(1,780 points), Stan Mikita
(1,467), Peter Stastny
(1,239) and Marian Hossa
(1,022). Overall, Elias is the 82nd player in NHL history to reach the 1,000-point milestone.
* Elias ranks sixth in all-time scoring among active players, behind Jagr, Joe Thornton
(1,227 points), Jarome Iginla
(1,192), Hossa and Martin St. Louis
* Elias is the only player to reach 1,000 points in a Devils uniform. He is the franchise's all-time leader in goals, assists, points, games played, power-play goals (110) and game-winning goals (79).
"I think we all feel with the new year and some of the changes that we're turning a new leaf," Elias said. "We're learning, we're getting better, and now we're going to have a couple of tough games and that's going to show even more where we're at."
Mikhail Grigorenko scored a power-play goal for the Sabres (14-24-3) in the second period, but Buffalo has lost five in a row in regulation and is 1-8-1 in its past 10 games. The Sabres have been outscored 9-0 in the first period of their past three games.
"The last three games, our starts haven't been very good; we're out of the game before the game starts," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "It boils down to mental preparation. We've got to be mentally ready to start. We've got to be mentally ready to know our assignments. We've got to be prepared. This is the National Hockey League."
Elias is the 80th player in NHL history to reach 600 assists and the 82nd to reach 1,000 points. His next goal will make him the 91st player in NHL history to score 400. He is 13 games shy of becoming the 103rd player to appear in 1,200.
"When you see a guy who has played 1,000 games that's a great career; 1,000 points, that's another level," Cammalleri said. "There's a lot that goes into that, so it's quite an accomplishment for him. It's pretty special to see it tonight."
The fact that Elias has done it all with one team adds to the significance of the milestones he reached Tuesday.
"In this day and age it's uncommon for a lot of reasons … but Patrik has been a very loyal Devil," general manager and interim co-coach Lou Lamoriello said. "He was a free agent on several occasions and decided to stay. It's just great to have him in the organization.
"In my opinion, he's a Hall of Famer."
It's hard to argue with Lamoriello. Not only does Elias have the statistics, but he has won the Stanley Cup twice and appeared in the Stanley Cup Final four times. He also has an Olympic bronze medal he earned playing for the Czech Republic in 2006.
"It's obviously special," Elias said. "Some of the years it was never easy to score goals here or get points because of the system we played, but I obviously had an opportunity to play a lot of games to get to this point so I'm very proud of it."
Not as special, but perhaps equally, if not more important was the fact that the Devils finally were able to string together consecutive wins. For the second straight game they took a 3-0 lead in the first period.
Elias scored his sixth goal of the season at 3:44. He started the breakout from the defensive zone and drove down the middle of the ice, gaining a step on Sabres center Zemgus Girgensons. Cammalleri took the puck wide and sent a wrist shot toward the net that Elias deflected past Enroth.
Devils forward Jordin Tootoo made it 2-0 at 9:49 with a clean shot over Enroth's glove from the top of the left circle. It was his third goal of the season.
Zajac put the Devils ahead 3-0 with his sixth goal of the season at 14:39.
The Devils were close to taking a 4-0 lead when they went on a power play at 16:38 of the first period. They held the puck in the zone for the entire two-minute man-advantage and had seven shot attempts, including four on goal, but couldn't convert.
"The reason we got the results early is we did the things we'd like to do, we played the way we'd like to play," Cammalleri said. "We made strong decisions with the puck and we ended up on the positive end of things. That's important to reinforce that."
Buffalo got a goal back in the second period when Grigorenko scored on the power play at 6:40 with a one-timer from a step above the left hash marks off a feed out of the corner from Chris Stewart.
The Sabres nearly scored a second goal with 9:30 remaining in the third period, when Philip Varone missed an empty net by hitting the crossbar.
"We're finding a way to win," Elias said. "I think Philly, we played the whole game; today we had a bad 20 minutes, which was the second period. What gave us a chance in both games was the first period. We jumped on those teams, got a goal, got a lead, and we've been playing a lot better with the lead. That's a good thing."