The New Jersey Devils tasted defeat for the first time in 2013 Sunday night, dropping a 4-3 overtime decision to the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Still, there were positive developments in the game.
First, there was a point in the standings. Secondly, the Devils were resilient, coming back from a 3-1 deficit to force overtime on the road, which is a strong accomplishment. And third, Patrik Elias and David Clarkson were very strong with a goal and two assists each in the game.
“You’re down 3-1 in the third period and to come back and get a point really shows the character and guts of our team,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “We’ve got things to work on, but we haven’t lost in regulation yet and that’s a good sign.
“I really didn’t like our first period again,” DeBoer said. “That’s three games in a row, so that’s something we have to fix. But, our resiliency was pretty good and we actually had a couple of opportunities to win the game. So, considering we didn’t put in 60 minutes, we’ll take the point and thank Marty Brodeur (28 saves) and keep moving forward.”
The Canadiens won it on a power-play goal by Andrei Markov with just 37.8 seconds left. But the Devils players pretty much admitted to a man that they weren't good enough.
“We’d love to have two points,” Brodeur said. “We didn’t play well. I’m sure well look at the tape. There’s so many mistakes we made, so many bad bounces. It’s not us the way we played. We battled hard. We were down twice two goals and got a point out of it. You know what? We’re not going to win them all.”
The night was an historic one for Elias, who picked up his 900th point — all with the Devils — when he assisted on the game-tying goal by Dainius Zubrus with 6:58 left in the regulation time.The point ties Elias with Tony Amonte for 96th place on the NHL's all-time points lists.
“It’s great,” Elias told reporters about reaching the milestone. “I enjoy it and I enjoy doing it here in Montreal. It’s a great hockey town and I always like to play here. So, it’s a nice accomplishment. I don’t know if I’ll get my 1,000th (point) in New Jersey. Maybe.”
“Patty is a true professional, a guy that works hard at being ready for the hockey games, prepares himself real well game in and game out,” goaltender Martin Brodeur told Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record. “And when you have guys that are in good shape and are tremendously talented in the sport, if you put so much attention to detail, you’re going to do well and that’s why he’s doing so well.”
Now 36, it's hard to imagine Elias being anything but a Devil. Still, he is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, so you never know, but it would be fitting if he could reach 1,000 points as a Devil.
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