20. march 2009 / PATRIK ELIAS SCORES TWICE AGAINST WILD FOR HIS 29TH AND 30TH
Patrik Elias has reached the 30 goal plateau for the fourth time in his career with two in the Devilâ€™s 4-0 win over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night at the Prudential Center.
With the game scoreless early in the second period, Brian Giontaâ€™s hard forecheck forced Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky to make a quick decision to release the puck from behind his own net. The pass attempt landed right on Patrikâ€™s stick and he fired a wrist shot home for his 29th of the season. The unassisted marker, which proved to be the game winner, led a three goal second period Devil onslaught that chased Minnesota goaltender Niklas Backstrom from the crease to be replaced by backup Josh Harding.
Patrik supplied the icing on the cake with a power play goal 8:32 into the third period after a tremendous effort by defenseman Paul Martin to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Martin threw a shot towards goal which hit some traffic in front and slid over to the wide open Patrik who was waiting to cash in on number 30. The Czech winger has registered 4 goals and 4 assists in the last 5 games, holds a +17 rating and now has 77 points on the year.
Proving he can play on both sides of the ice, Patrik was a part of a group of penalty killers who fought off seven Minnesota power plays including a 5 on 3 in the third period, helping Martin Brodeur reach 101 career shutouts, two shy of all-time leader Terry Sawchuck.
Other Devil goal scorers were Brian Gionta and John Oduya. The Devils (47-21-3) have sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference heading into Boston to face the Bruins on Sunday at 3 p.m. The win was the teamâ€™s 11th straight on home ice.(Dan Altano)