By John Schweibacher
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The Devils retired Scott Niedermayer’s number 27 this past Friday night.

Patrik Elias, whose number 26 will one day be raised to the rafters as well, reached another milestone Saturday; becoming New Jersey’s all-time leading goal-scorer.

Elias, who is already the franchise’s career points leader, passed John MacLean for the most goals scored in club history with his two goals in the Devils’ 5-3 win in Montreal:

· Patrik Elias 348
· John MacLean 347
· Bobby Holik 202
· Kirk Muller 185
· Zach Parise 174
· Pat Verbeek 170
· Aaron Broten 162
· Petr Sykora 153
· Brian Gionta 152
· Randy McKay 151

Zach Parise scored a goal and had three assists in the Devils’ 6-3 win over Dallas last Friday night. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the seventh time in his career that Parise recorded four points in a game, all seven of those games were played at home:

· 12/16/2011 vs. Dallas 1 G, 3 A, 4 PTS
· 1/29/2011 vs. Toronto 2 G, 2 A, 4 PTS
· 2/11/2009 vs. NY Islander 2 G, 2 A, 4 PTS
· 12/19/2008 vs. Ottawa 0 G, 4 A, 4 PTS
· 12/12/2008 vs. NY Rangers 0 G, 4 A, 4 PTS
· 12/5/2007 vs. Boston 2 G, 2 A, 4 PTS
· 11/30/2007 vs. Montreal 3 G, 1 A, PTS

David Clarkson and Ilya Kovalchuk each scored their 10th goal of the season in the Devils’ win over the Stars Friday night. New Jersey now has four players with double-digit goals (Patrik Elias and Zach Parise are the others), only 31 games into the season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only once in the last 10 seasons have the Devils had four players with 10-plus goals this early in a season. In 2006-07, four Devils had at least 10 goals 30 games into the season: Elias, Parise, Jamie Langenbrunner and Brian Gionta.

The Devils will face the cross-river rival New York Rangers for the first time this season Tuesday night at Prudential Center. Excluding the 1994-95 season which did not begin until January, this will be the deepest into a season the two teams have ever gone before facing each other. In 1999-00, the two clubs did not face-off until December 1st, a 3-2 Devils’ win at the Meadowlands.

New Jersey went 2 and 4 in the six meeting against New York last season, winning just once in the three contests in Newark. Including the playoffs, the Devils have gone just 4-10-2 against the Rangers at The Rock since it opened for the 2007-08 season.

The Devils and Capitals meet for the third time in 2011-12 this Friday night in New Jersey. The two clubs split the first two meetings with Washington winning, 3-1, on November 11th at Prudential Center and the Devils posting a 3-2 shootout victory the following night at Verizon Center.

The Capitals are now led by head coach Dale Hunter. Hunter, who replaced Bruce Boudreau on November 28th, played in the NHL from 1980-81 through 1998-99 for Quebec, Washington and Colorado. Hunter appeared in 76 regular season games against New Jersey, scoring 14 goals with 41 assists and 173 penalty minutes. Hunter also played for the Caps against the Devils in the 1988 and 1990 playoffs.

After the two-day Christmas break, the Devils will head to Raleigh to face the Carolina Hurricanes. New Jersey has won both of their match-ups with the ‘Canes in Newark so far this season; 4-2 on October 10th and 3-2 on November 8th.

The Hurricanes new head coach is former Devils’ captain Kirk Muller. Muller, who replaced Paul Maurice on November 28th, is now the sixth former New Jersey Devils player to become a head coach in the NHL. Here is a list of those Devils who later became coaches and their career coaching records in games against New Jersey:

· Ron Low (Edmonton, NY Rangers) 9-5-4

· Joel Quenneville (St. Louis, Chicago) 9-3-2*

· Dave Lewis (Detroit) 3-4-0

· Mike Kitchen (St. Louis) 1-0-0

· John MacLean (New Jersey) —

· Kirk Muller (Carolina) 0-0-0*

*-current NHL Head Coach

Schwei’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: Banner Night’s. Devils now 3 and 0 on nights they have retired uniform numbers; 3-0 win vs. Carolina 2/3/06 (Scott Stevens), 4-2 win vs. Boston 3/24/06 (Ken Daneyko) and 6-3 win vs. Dallas 12/16/11 (Scott Niedermayer).

Minus: Scrooged. Dispute between MSG Media and Time Warner Cable could deprive Devils fans (as well as Rangers, Islanders and Knicks fans) of watching games come January 1.

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