Skip to Main Content
game preview

Possible finale for Devils' Elias against Maple Leafs

Veteran forward is New Jersey's all-time scoring leader

by Pat Pickens / Special to

MAPLE LEAFS (29-41-11) at DEVILS (37-36-8)

TV: 7 p.m. ET; MSG+, CBC, NHL.TV

NEWARK, N.J. -- Forward Patrik Elias could play his final game for the New Jersey Devils against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Prudential Center on Saturday.

Elias, 39, has played his entire 20-year NHL career in New Jersey and is their all-time leader in goals (407), assists (615), points (1,022), power-play goals (113) and game-winning goals (80).

The two-time Stanley Cup champion will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

"I feel way better than I anticipated I would, physically and even hockey-wise," said Elias, who has been limited to 15 games (one goal, four assists) this season with a knee injury. "I think you have to be honest with yourself, and I'm still capable of it."

While Elias may be playing his final game for New Jersey, the Devils will be giving NHL debuts to forwards Pavel Zacha and Miles Wood, and defenseman Steve Santini.

Zacha, the No. 6 selection in the 2015 NHL Draft, was recalled from Albany of the American Hockey League on Friday, shortly after he joined the team following his season with Sarnia of the Ontario Hockey League. 

"It's my (NHL) first game," Zacha said. "I'm a little nervous, but I think when I get on the ice and see all the fans and stuff, it'll be an exciting time for me."

Zacha, 19, will center the top line with Elias and Devante Smith-Pelly. Zacha, from Brno, Czech Republic, grew up idolizing his countryman Elias.

"It's a great opportunity for me to play with him," Zacha said. "I never thought I'd be able to play with him. Hopefully it's not his last game but the last game of his season, and I'm really happy to play with him today and I'll try to enjoy it."

Wood and Santini signed three-year entry-level contracts with New Jersey on Friday. The two most recently played for Boston College in the NCAA semifinals on Thursday.

"It's been kind of a roller coaster of emotions the last 48 hours," Santini said. "It is a little wild, but I'll be ready to play [Saturday]."

Toronto center Leo Komarov returns to the lineup for the season finale. Komarov, who has 19 goals and 17 assists in 66 games this season, has missed the past 12 games with a lower-body injury.

"I've been pushing it here for a while, so this last week I've been feeling really good," Komarov said. "I want to play hockey. I still have a chance to play one more game here, so I'm excited about it."

Here are the projected lineups:


Brooks Laich - Tyler Bozak - P.A. Parenteau

Colin Greening - William Nylander - Tobias Lindberg

Leo Komarov - Frederik Gauthier - Michael Grabner

Sam Carrick - Byron Froese - Brad Boyes

Morgan Rielly - Martin Marincin

Jake Gardiner - Frank Corrado

Andrew Campbell - T.J. Brennan

Garret Sparks

Jonathan Bernier

Injured: Peter Holland (upper body), Matt Hunwick (groin), Joffrey Lupul (hernia), Milan Michalek (knee), Nikita Soshnikov (upper body), James van Riemsdyk (foot)

Scratched: None

Suspended: Nazem Kadri


Patrik Elias - Pavel Zacha - Devante Smith-Pelly

Sergey Kalinin - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri

Miles Wood - Adam Henrique - Tyler Kennedy

Jacob Josefson - Stephen Gionta - Tuomo Ruutu

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson

David Schlemko - Steve Santini

John Moore - Damon Severson

Cory Schneider

Keith Kinkaid

Injured: Michael Cammalleri (hand), Jon Merrill (upper body), Jordin Tootoo (wrist), Jiri Tlusty (wrist)

Scratched: Bobby Farnham, Joe Blandisi, Reid Boucher, David Warsofsky

Status report: Sparks has lost his past four starts. … The Devils re-assigned forwards Blake Pietila and Mike Sislo and defenseman Vojtek Mozik to Albany. … The Maple Leafs re-assigned forward Kasperi Kapanen to the Toronto Marlies.

Who's hot: Kalinin is coming off his first multigoal game in the NHL. … Nylander has six points (two goals, four assists) in the past five games.

View More