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game recap

Elias scores in possible Devils farewell

Veteran has goal, two assists; Palmieri, Henrique reach 30 against Maple Leafs

by Pat Pickens / Correspondent

NEWARK, N.J. -- If Saturday marked the end of Patrik Elias' time with the New Jersey Devils, he went out in style.

Elias had a goal and two assists, and the New Jersey Devils defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1 at Prudential Center.

The Devils' all-time leader in several categories scored with 16 seconds remaining, his 408th goal in 1,240 games with New Jersey. The 39-year-old unrestricted free agent played the final three games of the season after being sidelined with a knee injury since Dec. 19.

"If you asked me before I stepped on the ice, I would be probably more than a 50 percent chance I probably am not coming back," Elias said. "With these three games, I just felt way better than I anticipated. I don't feel any issues after the games, so we'll see."

Video: TOR@NJD: Elias nets Devils' last goal of the season

Elias, a two-time Stanley Cup winner, was named the game's first star and said he soaked up the postgame ovation from the crowd.

"I got to enjoy it," he said. "It's a possibility I might not be playing, and maybe it's just the reality that I might not be playing here. I loved it. It was a fun night."

Adam Henrique scored two goals and Kyle Palmieri had one to each reach 30 for the first time in the NHL, Pavel Zacha had two assists in his NHL debut, and Cory Schneider made 19 saves for New Jersey (38-36-8), which had lost four in a row.

"We put ourselves in contention to get in the playoffs late in the year but we fell short," Devils coach John Hynes said. "There's another level we all have to get to."

Video: TOR@NJD: Henrique notches 29th goal on rebound

PA Parenteau scored, and Garret Sparks made 31 saves for Toronto (29-42-11), which finished 30th in the NHL.

"It's obviously disappointing the way we finished," Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak said. "We didn't win enough. You obviously want to make the playoffs, and we didn't do our jobs, so it's disappointing."

Henrique broke a 1-1 tie 50 seconds into the second period. Sparks stopped Adam Larsson's shot from the point, but Henrique redirected the puck with his skate. The goal was reviewed and upheld.

Henrique scored his 30th of the season at 10:42 to make it 3-1. He carried the puck across the blue line and dropped a pass to Tuomo Ruutu. The return pass bounced through two Toronto defenders back to Henrique, and he pushed the puck past Sparks.

Video: TOR@NJD: Henrique nets second goal of game in the 2nd

"I was pretty excited about it," Henrique said. "It's a special mark, first time in my career. Obviously, I'm trying to get better every single season, and I felt like I did that this year."

Palmieri scored an empty-net goal with 2:56 remaining for his 30th.

"I think both of them certainly deserved it. They were big factors for us all year long," Hynes said. "Great for them, and I think it was nice that they were able to accomplish that together."

Parenteau put the Maple Leafs up 1-0 2:53 into the game. Brooks Laich stole the puck in the neutral zone and skated in on Schneider. Laich's wrist shot hit both goal posts, but Parenteau took the rebound and shot into a vacant net.

Video: TOR@NJD: Parenteau buries rebound to provide the lead

His 20th goal of the season tied his NHL career high, set in 2010-11 with the New York Islanders.

"It's always nice to get a milestone like that," Parenteau said. "I felt pretty good personally about my year."

Sparks made 18 first-period saves, including eight on three New Jersey power plays. His best came when he slid across the crease to stop Elias' one-timer from the left circle.

But after Sparks covered the puck, Zacha won the faceoff, and Smith-Pelly tied the score 1-1. The goal was Smith-Pelly's first since March 20 and his eighth since New Jersey acquired him in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 29.

"I tried to play it forward, and … he scored," Zacha said of Smith-Pelly. "I was happy. We had a lot of chances, and I was thinking, 'Just keep playing like this and it will come.' I was happy we started the team a little bit."

Video: Henrique tallies twice, Elias scores in Devils' win

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