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Devils' Elias receives special text, reaches milestone

by Dan Rosen / NHL.com

NEWARK, N.J -- New Jersey Devils forward Patrik Elias received a text message Tuesday from former teammate Zach Parise with a prediction that he would score two goals and get an assist against the Buffalo Sabres to reach 400 goals, 600 assists and 1,000 points for his NHL career.

"He called two plus one so I could get all of it out of the way," Elias said. "I'll take it [anyway]."

So Parise was slightly off as Elias scored one goal and had two assists in a 4-1 win to reach the 1,000 points in his 1,187th game, all with the Devils.

Receiving the text from Parise was special regardless, but Elias was particularly touched because Parise thought of him in one of the most trying times of his life as he watches his father, J.P., battle lung cancer.

Parise wasn't in the Minnesota Wild's lineup Tuesday in order to be at his father's bedside.

"That's Zach," Elias said of the special text. "That's who he is."

To the current Devils, Elias is something of a superhero because of how consistent he has been for 17 seasons, all with one franchise, an uncommon accomplishment in an era of heavy trading and free agency.

"It's unbelievable," Devils goalie Cory Schneider said. "That's a lot of points. It's hard to score in this league. It's hard to play enough games to be able to score that many points. What Patty has done, it's amazing. To do it with one franchise holds a little more weight these days because you don't see many guys who do that anymore. We're all really happy for him and it's a great milestone."

Mike Cammalleri, who scored the empty-net goal that resulted in Elias' 1,000th career point, said he has always thought if a player plays in 1,000 games it means he's had a great career.

"One thousand points," Cammalleri said. "That's another level."

Especially for someone who has done it all with the Devils, a team that has had some lean offensive years.

New Jersey has finished 27th or worse in the League in total goals five times in the past eight seasons. The Devils rank 27th with 2.19 goals-per-game this season. The Devils have scored more than 2.60 goals-per-game in only five of 12 seasons since 2001-02. They haven't scored more than three goals per game since leading the NHL with 3.60 in 2000-01.

"It's special to do it for one team," Elias said. "Sometimes it's hard, because of the way we've been playing our systems, but you have great years and injuries to battle, so it's not easy to get to 1,000 points anywhere. I'm pretty proud of it."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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