It was a special evening for Patrik Elias last night, and not just because his third-period marker proved the winning goal in New Jersey’s 5-3 win over Montreal.
No, it was much more than that.
The goal was No. 358 for the 35-year-old Czech, making him the all-time leading goalscorer in Devils franchise history. The goal put him past former teammate — and for 33 games, former head coach — John MacLean.
“It just feels nice,” Elias told NorthJersey.com. “It just feels that you’re doing something right, and it keeps me going. Hopefully, I have a lot more in me, but at this moment I’m enjoying it.”
Here’s the record-setting goal. Chicago Blackhawks fans, please note the egregious defensive-zone turnover by Chris Campoli:
Elias scored his first NHL goal on Dec. 12, 1996, in Boston against Bill Ranford in a 7-4 Devils’ victory. Since then he’s appeared in over 900 games for the Devils, the only NHL team he’s ever played for.
Following last night’s win, New Jersey GM Lou Lamoriello and head coach Peter DeBoer had high praise for their veteran associate captain, who now leads the franchise in goals, assists (497), points (845), power-play goals (96), game-winning goals (77), overtime goals (15) and hat tricks (8).
“He’s having himself a great year, and he’s had a great career,” Lamoriello said. “And he’s not done yet.”
“The guy’s a winner,” DeBoer added. “He’s one of the most competitive people I know and just wants to win.”