16. april 2009 / PATRIK ELIAS DELIVERS IN FIRST GAME OF PLAYOFFS
Patrik Elias scored his 40th career playoff goal and the Devils dominated sixty minutes of play to win game one of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Final series with the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. It was the team’s first ever playoff victory at the Prudential Center since relocating to Newark last season.
Following goals from Mike Mottau and Zach Parise, Patrik made his mark midway through the second period. After his wraparound attempt was denied, Patrik peeled back to the top of the left circle and waited for a pass from Brian Gionta who outworked Rod Brind’Amour for the loose puck. Patrik took a full wind-up and slammed a one-timer over Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward’s right shoulder into the top shelf of the net to make it 3-0. Dainius Zubrus had the secondary assist on the tally. Jaimie Langenbrunner scored at 9:51 in the third period to seal the victory.
While much attention was given to Carolina’s dangerous power play, the Devils only took two penalties and clamped down on the Hurricanes attack with the man advantage. Patrik was a +1 on the night and had 5 shots on goal.
After the game, Patrik had a moment to reflect on the big win.
Q: Your goal was a combined effort by Brian Gionta, Dainius Zubrus and yourself. What did your line do to be successful tonight?
Patrik Elias: I felt like our line played really well, especially in the first two periods. We cycled the puck, forced turnovers, forechecked hard and created quality opportunities.
Q: What were the difference makers in tonight’s game?
Patrik Elias: We were quick on the puck, dictated the pace and played well defensively, but also we were having fun out there.
Q: You out shot the Hurricanes 39 to19. Was this a strategy against a skilled goalie like Cam Ward?
Patrik Elias: Well, I think it’s always our strategy to take a lot of shots and create scoring chances. Tonight, I think was a result of how well we executed our game. When you’re doing the right things, you will get a lot of shots.
Q: How does it feel to get your first ever playoff win in the new stadium?
Patrik Elias: The fans were great as always and they deserve it. They really add to the playoff atmosphere and when they are going like they were tonight it’s a big help
Q: How important is it to jump out to a 1-0 lead in the series?
Patrik Elias: I am happy with the win, but this is just the first game of many and we need to stay hungry.
The Devils will be back at the Prudential Center for Game 2 of the series Friday night at 7:30 pm. Eastern.(Dan Altano)