18. october 2008 / Patrik Elias breaks the record!
The New Jersey Devils' record books needed updating as of Saturday, October 18 when Patrik Elias broke the club's record for total number of career assists. His 366th career assist comes in this his thirteenth season wearing a Devils' jersey. "I am glad to have beaten the team record," Patrik Elias announced after beating the Washington Capitals. Prior to the game, Elias and defender Scotty Niedermayer shared the record at 364 assists. With only one assist needed to claim the record for himself, he quickly followed up with a second. "I was very pleased with the game, Washington is a good defensive team. What was good about our game was that we created lots of chances and we showed them we know how to play offensively. Really we should play like this all the time and not just when it is necessary," said Elias. Elias had been waiting since last season to join the ranks of the record-holders, when he tied the record of his former teammate Niedermayer in a match against the NY Islanders on April 1, 2008.
But Saturday's match in Washington was exceptional on two counts. Elias's first (record-breaking) assist in the thirteenth minute was to the young Czech forward Petr Vrána, who scored in his NHL debut. Only twelve other Devils have done the same.
"I appreciate it and I'm really happy that I helped Petr get his first goal in the NHL," said Elias.
Vrána's introduction "to the big world" was also symbolic. It was just under twelve years ago (December 12, 1996) that Elias scored his first NHL goal, also assisted by a fellow Czech - Robert Holík in a match against the Boston Bruins that the Devils went on to win 7-4! Holík made his mark in other ways in Elias's career. Elias's first assist in the NHL came on December 5, 1996, two days after he was called up from the Devils' farm team in Albany, when he passed to Holík, who scored the winning goal against Calgary (2-1). "It's great that my first assist and this one too were both for Czech players," beamed Elias. Elias has a chance to set yet another milestone for New Jersey. To beat the record for total number of career goals he needs just 81 more (347 - John MacLean), and for total career points only 69 more points (701 - John MacLean).