By John Schweibacher
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Patrik Elias will represent the Devils at the NHL’s All-Star Weekend. This will be Elias’ third trip to the all-star game, having appeared in both the 2000 and 2002 mid-season classics. Elias had two assists for the World All-Stars in the 2000 game in Toronto both coming on goals by Pavol Demitra in the 9-4 win for the World team. Two years later for the World squad in Los Angeles, Elias assisted on the final goal of the game, an empty-netter from Sami Kapanen, in the 8-5 victory.

Elias’ third all-star appearance will tie him for the fourth-most in club history. Here are the New Jersey Devils who will have appeared in three or more all-star games:

· Scott Stevens 10 (1992-94, 1996-01 and 2003)
· Martin Brodeur 9 (1996-2001, 2003-04 and 2007)
· Kirk Muller 4 (1985-86, 1988 and 1990)
· Scott Niedermayer 3 (1998, 2001 and 2004)
· Patrik Elias 3 (2000, 2002 and 2011)

Elias’ World All-Star teams were both coached by Hall-of-Famer Scotty Bowman but this time around the squads will not be determined until Friday night’s “fantasy draft” is held, led by team captains Nicklas Lidstrom and Eric Staal. Lidstrom and Jarome Iginla, who was selected but will not participate in the game, are the only two 2011 All-Stars who currently rank ahead of Elias on the NHL’s all-time scoring list (totals through games of 1/23):

2011 All-Star – GP – G – A – Pts
· Nicklas Lidstrom 1460 240 840 1088
· Jarome Iginla 1073 461 504 965
· Patrik Elias 927 327 463 790
· Martin St. Louis 822 287 452 739
· Brad Richards 748 211 484 695

Zach Parise was the last Devils player to score an all-star game goal, with a tally in the last NHL mid-season classic two years ago in Montreal. New Jersey Devils players have scored a total of eight all-star game goals and half of those have come from defensemen. Here is a list of the New Jersey Devils who have scored goals in NHL all-star games:

NJD All-Star – Year (Site) – Goals
· Joe Cirella 1984 (New Jersey) 1
· Kirk Muller 1990 (Pittsburgh) 2
· John MacLean 1991 (Chicago) 1
· Scott Stevens 1992 (Philadelphia) 1
· Scott Stevens 1994 (New York-MSG) 1
· Scott Niedermayer 1998 (Vancouver) 1
· Zach Parise 2009 (Montreal) 1

The Devils current coaching staff; Jacques Lemaire, Larry Robinson and Adam Oates, appeared in a combined 17 all-star games, scored three goals and added 22 assists.

The resurgent Devils may not want the all-star break to come as they head to Detroit to take on the Red Wings in their final game before the NHL’s All-Star Weekend takes place in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The Devils have won four straight and are now 6-0-1 since the season’s mid-point. New Jersey is also now 7-7-1 under Jacques Lemaire, who took over as head coach on December 23rd. The Devils have outscored their opponents 28-13 over the 6-0-1 stretch and have allowed two goals or fewer in all but four of their last 12 games dating back to New Year’s Eve.

New Jersey has dropped its last eight meetings with the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. The Devils last win in Detroit came on November 6th, 1996 a 2-0 shutout victory for Martin Brodeur. John MacLean and Bobby Holik scored the New Jersey goal and Brodeur stopped 36 shots that night for what was his 13th career shutout, beating Chris Osgood. Osgood is currently on the injured list for the Red Wings but two other current Wings, Kris Draper and Nicklas Lidstrom played in that 1996 contest as did current Devil Brian Rolston.

Jacques Lemaire, who was behind the bench that night, went 2 and 1 in his three regular season visits to Detroit as Devils coach during his first head coaching stint. New Jersey did not face the Red Wings on the road last season under Lemaire but did win on home-ice, a 4-3 shootout victory on December 5th, 2009. Detroit defeated the Devils, 4-1, in their first meeting earlier this season back on December 11th in New Jersey

The Devils eight straight losses in Detroit also represent the club’s third-longest streak of road losses against an opponent in club history, topped only by a 14-game stretch against the Washington Capitals at Capital Centre from March 28, 1984 through March 1st, 1988 and a 12-game regular-season drought vs. the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum from November 9th, 1985 through December 17th, 1988.

New Jersey’s 14-game road losing streak in Washington was part of an 0-19-1 road-ice stretch for the Devils in D.C. from November of 1982 through March of 1988. New Jersey’s NHL predecessors, the Kansas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies went a combined 0-16-2 on Long Island and, prior to the Devils-Islanders playoff series in 1988, the KC/COL/NJ franchise was a combined 1-35-3 all-time on the road against the Isles.

Schwei’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: Brian Rolston. Has three goals and seven assists in 10 games since going unclaimed after being placed on waivers. Rolston had just two goals and three assists in his first 21 games played this season.

Plus: Fast Starts. Devils have jumped out 2-0 leads in each of their last four games.

Plus: Lucky Seven. New Jersey’s current 6-0-1 stretch is the club’s best since winning seven out of eight back in late December of 2009.

Minus: Injuries. Defensemen Matt Corrente (shoulder) and Colin White (lower-body) both go down.

Are the Devils in the midst of a legitimate turnaround? Sound off in the comments below…

pixy Schwei On Ice: Elias The All Star

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