With a chance to win two straight at the Prudential Center for the first time this season, the Devils may have one of their top scoring threats back as they face the New York Islanders on Friday night.
A 3-2 victory over Washington on Wednesday night was the second home win of the season for New Jersey (9-4-0). The Devils lost four of their previous five at the Prudential Center, scoring two goals or fewer in each of those contests.
New Jersey has been without Elias all season following groin surgery in mid-September, but the veteran center may be ready to return.
Elias had 78 points (31 goals, 47 assists) in 77 games with the Devils last season. He has two goals and three assists in his last four home games versus the Islanders (5-5-5).
The Devils haven’t been completely unproductive without Elias. They’ve won three straight and nine of 11 despite their problems at home, winning all seven of their road games.
Nicklas Bergfors(notes) gave the Devils a boost against Washington, scoring two power-play goals in the third period. Bergfors, a first-round pick in 2005, picked up his game after coach Jacques Lemaire put him on a line with Travis Zajac(notes) and Zach Parise(notes).
“Those are great players,” said Bergfors, third on the team behind Parise and Zajac with four goals. “You kind of raise your level much easier.”
Zajac had assists on both of Bergfors’ goals while Parise had one on the 22-year-old right wing’s second score. Parise leads the Devils with 15 points (six goals, nine assists) and has six goals and nine assists in his last nine games against New York.
He helped the Devils go 4-2-0 against the Islanders in 2008-09.
New York has shown signs of improvement this season, winning four straight by a combined score of 15-5 before a 3-0 loss at Buffalo on Wednesday night. The Islanders had earned points in six straight (4-0-2).
Road games have given New York trouble, though. The Islanders are 1-3-3 away from Nassau Coliseum, averaging 2.1 goals.
New York beat the Sabres 5-0 at home Saturday night but couldn’t generate anything offensively against the NHL’s top defense Wednesday.
Islanders rookie John Tavares(notes) was held off the scoresheet following a four-game point streak (two goals, two assists). The 19-year-old center’s 11 points (five goals, six assists) put him in a tie with Matt Moulson(notes) for the team lead.