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Elias leaves game on stretcher after check

by Rick Sadowski
DENVER – New Jersey Devils forward Patrik Elias was to return to New Jersey with the team Saturday night after suffering head and neck injuries in Saturday's game with the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.

Elias fell awkwardly into the boards 38 seconds into the second period following a clean check by Avalanche defenseman Ryan Wilson.

Elias was strapped to a backboard and wheeled off the ice, and he underwent X-rays in the arena before heading to a local hospital for a precautionary CT scan.

"We had X-rays here for his neck and everything was fine," Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello told the Newark Star-Ledger. "We went to the hospital just for precautionary reasons for a CT scan and everything is fine. The doctor didn't know we were flying back after the game, so he said, 'I'd just like to double check with a CT scan.' So I went to the hospital with him and they got the report back. Everything is OK."

Devils coach Jacques Lemaire said Elias isn't ready to play now and indicated the forward was unprepared for the hit.

"It happened just in front of us," he said. "When (Wilson) hit, he lifted up his shoulder and I think Patrik was a little careless on this."

Shortly after the unpenalized hit, Devils defenseman Mark Fraser fought Wilson.

"I knew something was going to happen," Wilson told "It was better to get it out of the way early instead of sitting around and waiting for someone to take a run at me. I had to respect them and answer the bell."

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