By John Schweibacher
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Patrik Elias had the game-winning goal in the Devils’ 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets this past Saturday. According to the Sports Bureau which also shares his name, Elias’s name in the scoring summary has been almost a requirement for a Devils victory this season: He has recorded at least one point in all but one of their 25 wins. Amazingly, the only New Jersey win in which Elias did not register a goal or an assist was a 1-0 victory against the Islanders on November 25th.

Here is the breakdown of Elias’ points in Devils wins and losses:

NJD wins: 11 goals, 22 assists, 33 points.
NJD losses: 5 goals, 3 assists, 8 points.

The Devils set a franchise record last week by scoring a short-handed goal in four consecutive games. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the previous record was three games, accomplished three times (including Colorado), with the last time coming back on March 24th through March 28th, 1992. The NHL record is six games, accomplished multiple times, last by Pittsburgh in April, 1993.

The Devils’ March 1992 short-handed goal streak came under head coach Tom McVie and began when Bruce Driver scored with New Jersey a man down against San Jose in a 4-3 win at the Meadowlands. Two nights later, in the game in which Martin Brodeur made his NHL debut; Claude Lemieux had a short-handed goal in a 4-2 victory over Boston. Claude Vilgrain concluded the string of three straight games with a short-handed goal with a breakaway tally with one-tenth of a second remaining in the second period in an eventual 5-2 win over Quebec in New Jersey.

Adam Henrique’s four short-handed goals are two shy of John Madden’s single-season club record. Madden was also a rookie when he scored six times with New Jersey down a man in the 1999-00 season. Here are the top five short-handed goal scorers in a season for the Devils:

· John Madden 6 1999-00
· Brian Rolston 5 1998-99
· Adam Henrique 4 2011-12
· Stephane Richer 4 1995-96
· Doug Brown 4 1987-88

The Devils lead the NHL in short-handed goals scored as well as short-handed goals allowed.

Their 11 short-handed goals scored are the most since registering 12 three seasons ago, and seven away from the club record 18 set back in 1987-88. The 12 short-handed goals New Jersey has allowed are already tied for the fifth-most in Devils’ history and seven away from their worst-ever 19 allowed in 1992-93.

The combination of 23 short-handed goals both for and against is already the fourth-most since the club moved to New Jersey for the 1982-83 NHL season:

Devils Most Combined Short-Handed Goals For/Against:

· 1987-88 12 18 30
· 1992-93 8 19 27
· 1991-92 15 10 25
· 2011-12 11 12 23

Devils Least Combined Short-Handed Goals For/Against:

· 1994-95* 3 3 6
· 2005-06 3 6 9
· 1985-86 5 5 10
· 2001-02 2 8 10
*(work-stoppage shortened season)

Zach Parise scored the seventh overtime goal of his NHL career in the Devils’ victory last week over the Edmonton Oilers. Each of Parise’s OT winners have come since 2007-08 which, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, ties him with Ilya Kovalchuk and Alex Ovechkin for the most overtime goals in the NHL over that span.

Devils rookie Adam Henrique recorded a goal, an assist and a fighting major in New Jersey’s loss at Calgary. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Henrique, who fought Flames’ captain Jarome Iginla, was the first New Jersey rookie to register a “Gordie Howe hat trick” since March 14th, 1987, when defenseman Gordie Mark did so against the Islanders.

Mark wasted no time in that game; opening the scoring in the eventual 7-6 Isles overtime win, with his first career goal against Kelly Hrudey at 4:04 of the 1st period. Mark then dropped the gloves with Brad Lauer at 6:12, in the first of four fights in the contest between the Devils and Islanders. Shortly after serving his major penalty, Mark assisted on a John MacLean goal at 13:38 to complete his “Gordie Howe (or in this case Gordie Mark) hat trick”.

Before Henrique, the last rookie on any NHL team with a “Howe hat trick” was Montreal’s Ryan White on March 20th of last year, at Minnesota.

The Devils begin their longest homestand of the season (although the six-game stretch on home ice will be interrupted by the All-Star break) with games against Winnipeg, Boston and Philadelphia this week at Prudential Center.

New Jersey will be playing its 4th and final game of the season against Winnipeg Tuesday night. The Devils and Jets split their two meetings in Manitoba; a 4-2 Jets win back on December 3rd and the 2-1 New Jersey victory this past Saturday. The Devils also got a 3-2 overtime win over Winnipeg back on November 5th in New Jersey.

The Devils are 0-for-2 so far this season against the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins, who they host on Thursday night. Boston won a close one on home ice, 4-3, back on November 15th and handily, 6-1, when the two clubs last met in Newark, January 4th.

New Jersey has split its two match-ups against Philadelphia so far in the 2011-12 season. The Flyers took the opening night match-up at Prudential Center against the Devils, 3-0 but New Jersey won in a shootout in Philadelphia, 4-3, on November 3rd.

Schwei’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: Rookie Stars. Adam Henrique and Adam Larsson named to represent Devils in the SuperSkills at the NHL’s All-Star Weekend on January 28th in Ottawa.

Minus: Zajac Out. Devils center will rest for a couple of weeks because of soreness in his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon, which he tore during his offseason training in August.

How will the Devils fare this week? Make your prediction in the comments below…

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