The steadily improving New Jersey Devils — they’ve taken five of the last six available points — will be without veteran winger Patrik Elias again on Tuesday night against the Rangers.
Elias, placed on IR Friday (retroactive to Oct. 30), is eligible to be activated at any time, but will instead sit out for the sixth straight game with back problems.
“No worse turn,” head coach Peter DeBoer told the Star-Ledger. “I would call it lingering.”
Elias, 37, first tweaked his back after waking up from a pregame nap prior to a 4-3 win over Boston on Oct. 26.
Yes, a nap.
He gutted through the injury (back spasms, to be specific) to play once more — a 2-1 win over Tampa on the 29th — but then sat out New Jersey’s last five games: 1-0 and 4-0 losses to Philly and Minnesota, a bounce-back 3-0 win over the Flyers, a 2-1 shootout loss to Toronto and, finally, Sunday’s 5-0 blowout of Nashville.
This is just the latest in what’s been a tough season for Elias’ health. He missed time earlier this season to a rough bout of food poisoning and, on the year, has only appeared in 10 of New Jersey’s 17 games.
That said, he has been a solid contributor when healthy. Despite the missed time, Elias still sits tied for third in team scoring, with seven points, and was averaging close to 19 minutes per game prior to the back spasms.