Devils' Patrik Elias on his spin-o-rama highlight goal and shootout winner

December 19, 2014 - The Star Ledger - View Full Article

Veteran called one of them 'lucky'

NEWARK — It was the kind of performance Patrik Elias has given the Devils for the last 16 seasons, but something he has struggled to deliver this season.

First, there was a spin-o-rams goal that will end up on highlight shows. And, perhaps more important, he scored the shootout goal which ended the Devils’ 5-game losing streak (0-3-2) and gave rookie goalie Keith Kinkaid his first NHL victory.

“I thought that was the best he’s skated all year,” coach Pete DeBoer said of Elias after Friday night’s 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. “I thought he was moving, he was attacking. That was his best game and we needed it.”

How badly?

“It’s a huge win. We needed it. It was a gutsy,” DeBoer said. “I think there probably weren’t too many people picking us to win this game and we found a way. It wasn’t pretty. There were a lot of things you’d want to clean up, but it was a character win. A lot of guys really dug deep.”

Elias among them.

He would not get carried away with his first period goal in which he did a spin-o-rams on Matthew Carle in the right circle and then took a backhander that deflected off the Lightning defenseman’s stick.

The puck fluttered over the right shoulder of goalie Ebgeni Nabokov and into the net.

“Good move, but lucky,” Elias admitted. “I made a spin-o-rama a few times, obviously, but I got lucky on that. No question about it. When you make a move like that you do get a little bit of room, but I got lucky on that shot. He slowed it down and tipped it up high. Nabby kind of overplayed it a little bit.”

The deflection definitely helped?

“Yes. I don’t think I could float it like that. It’s not a baseball,” he said, alluding to his knuckleball skills.

The joy was diminished when the Lightning came back to tie the game with 40.1 seconds left in the third period.

“I didn’t feel dejection on the bench,” DeBoer said. “You’re disappointed because we’ve been in that spot before. I think when you’re playing with a short bench and some key people out that are used to playing in those situations that you don’t have available, I think you get exposed sometimes.

“We overplayed some guys and had some tired people out there. We also had some guys we wouldn’t normally have in that situation. It’s a learning experience for everybody and it didn’t come back to bite us tonight.”

Elias said: “I think we were (ticked) to have that goal scored on us again. Because of what’s transpired so far in this season when we (blow) a lead we usually don’t come back and get that extra point. I’m happy that we did.”

He scored the only goal in the shootout. Elias was the Devils’ third shooter and had failed to score in his previous 13 shootout attempts.

“Took me about 15 tries,” Elias said, his math slightly off. “I was just trying to make a move, do it from the other side coming in from the left side, fake a shot and see what he was going to do. It opened him up and I had half of the net open.”

Rich Chere may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Ledger_NJDevils. Find on Facebook.

What did it take for Keith Kinkaid's 1st NHL victory?

December 19, 2014 - The Star Ledger - View Full Article

Rookie goalie said the night felt like 'deja vu all over again'

NEWARK — Practice makes perfect, and there is no denying that Devils rookie goalie Keith Kinkaid has had plenty of practice heading into shootouts with a 2-2 score.

In fact, when the Tampa Bay Lightning tied Friday night’s game with 40.1 seconds remaining in the third period, Kinkaid could only shake his head.

“Deja vu all over again," Kinkaid said. “It’s the story of my starts so far. Shootouts and tying it in the third period. But we got the shootout win today. That’s a big two points.”

In his first NHL start, on Dec. 9 against the Chicago Blackhawks, Kinkaid lost, 3-2. In his next start, on Monday night against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum, he lost again, 3-2. Both were shootout losses.

Not this time.

“It was kind of funny. Three starts and three shootouts. All 2-2 scores,” Kinkaid reflected. “We just stayed with it, I felt good and the fans gave great energy.”

He stopped Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov, but the Devils were unable to score on Evgeni Nabokov.

When Patrik Elias finally scored, Kinkaid was ready.

“Patty got that goal and I guess the horn kind of gets me pumped up for the last guy,” Kinkaid said. “That was a great way to end it there.”

Coach Pete DeBoer was impressed when Jonathan Drouin failed to score.

“He was great,” DeBoer said of Kinkaid. “Look at the shooters coming down on him. You’re talking about some of the most skilled guys in the league. He was confident and I think that provided confidence to our group.”

What did it mean to Kinkaid, whose parents were at the game?

“I don’t know if you saw my celebration out there, but it felt pretty (darn) good,” the goalie said. “It was a relief, and hopefully there are many more and easier ones on the way.”

Asked to describe his on-ice celebration, Kinkaid laughed.

“I might’ve blacked out,” he said. “I was pretty pumped. Definitely a great feeling to get the monkey off my back.”

Rich Chere may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Ledger_NJDevils. Find on Facebook.