The New Jersey Devils are certainly doing their part to keep their faint playoff hopes alive. Three goals from Patrik Elias and 34 saves by Johan Hedberg propelled the Devils past the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night at the Prudential Center. Elias’ hat trick could not have come at a better time, as the Devils must win all of their remaining games and hope that the Rangers and Sabres lose their final games in order to make the playoffs.
The Flyers jumped out to an early lead when New Jersey native James van Riemsdyk redirected a Mike Richards shot as he skated across the top of the crease. The goal was the 20th of the season for van Riemsdyk and the Flyers took the 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
Elias tied the game for the Devils at the 6:28 mark of the second period. Elias fired a wrist shot past Boucher from the slot off a nice pass from Brian Rolston who was stationed in the left corner.
Elias’ second goal of the night came shorthanded, and it was orchestrated by another beautiful play by linemate Brian Rolston. The pair raced into the Flyers zone on a 2-on-1, and Rolston found Elias with a perfect saucer pass that gave the Devils a 2-1 lead.
Jeff Carter brought the Flyers back even just over four minutes into the third period when he cashed in at the front of the net off a pass from Nikolai Zherdev.
The tie game lasted for less than five minutes before Nick Palmieri broke the deadlock after an Ilya Kovalchuk wrister deflected off Palmieri’s skate and past Flyers goalie Brian Boucher to make it 3-2.
Elias capped off the scoring and completed his hat trick when Rolston’s shot was saved by Boucher, but the rebound hit Elias’ skate as he was skating across the top of the crease. The three goal game gave Elias 19 goals on the season, and it was the eighth time in his stellar career in which he had lit the lamp three times in one game.
The Devils are back in action tonight as they take on the Montreal Canadiens in another must-win game. Luckily for the Devils, they will be welcoming a familiar face back to the lineup as Zach Parise will make his long-awaited return from knee surgery. Parise has missed 65 games since he suffered a torn meniscus.
Although Parise’s return might be “too little too late,” the Devils hope that he can help them continue to stave off elimination for at least one more night.
About the Author
Written by Matt Pellicane
I am currently pursuing a master's degree in Journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. I graduated from Quinnipiac in May 2010 with a bachelor's degree in print journalism. While at Quinnipiac, I covered various sporting events on campus for the online newspaper The Quad News. I was born and raised in Bridgewater, New Jersey and have been an avid sports fan all of my life. I am a fan of the New Jersey Devils, New York Giants, New York Yankees, and the Boston Celtics.