Henrique scores 2, Devils beat Leafs in season finale
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Adam Henrique and Kyle Palmieri became the Devils' first 30-goal scorers in four years Saturday night.
Patrik Elias stole the show, though, with what might have been his swan song after 17 seasons in New Jersey.
Elias, the Devils career leading scorer, had a goal and two assists while being serenaded by ''Patty, Patty'' chants from a sellout crowd, and New Jersey beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1 in the season finale for both teams.
The soon-to-be 40-year-old Elias played in only 16 games this season because of a knee injury, returning for the final three of the regular season. He is an unrestricted free agent and his future with the Devils is uncertain.
''I have to be honest, if you asked me before I stepped on the ice, I would be probably more than 50 percent sure that I am not coming back,'' said Elias, a two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils. ''But these three games I felt better than I anticipated. I don't have any issues after the game, so we will see.''
Elias plans to talk to his family and see if the Devils, who have missed the playoffs the last four seasons, are interested in re-signing him. He was named the first star of the game and seemed to soak in everything as he skated around the ice.
''Yeah you have to enjoy it. It's possible that I might not be playing,'' he said. ''It's reality. You have to face that. Maybe it's just reality that I might not be playing here. Who knows? Those are things you have to consider and I loved it. It was a fun night.''
Henrique scored twice to reach the 30-goal mark for the first time, while Palmieri scored into an empty net to reach his career high.
''It was pretty exciting,'' Henrique said. ''It's a special mark, the first time in my career. I'm trying to get better every season and I felt like I did that this year.''
Devante Smith-Pelly also scored and Cory Schneider made 19 saves for the Devils, who finished 38-36-8 in their first season under John Hynes, a six-point improvement
Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau scored and Garret Sparks made 31 saves for the Maple Leafs, who finish with the NHL's worst record and will be missing the postseason for the third straight year.
Toronto was 29-42-11 in its first season under Mike Babcock.
''We're obviously pretty disappointed the way we finished,'' Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak said. ''We played hard at the end I thought, all the young guys and the call-ups all played well. There's definitely a lot of excitement and it was fun to be a part of it and meet all the new guys.''
Henrique gave the Devils the lead with a fluky goal 58 seconds into the period. Defenseman Adam Larsson's shot from the point hit off Sparks, and the puck rebounded down off Henrique's skate, bounced up and hit his body and rolled into the net. The goal was reviewed and stood for a 2-1 lead.
Henrique stretched it to 3-1 at 10:42, and this one also had a couple of crazy bounces. TJ Brennan knocked a puck off Tuomo Ruutu's stick, it hit the skate of Toronto's William Nylander and bounced forward to Henrique, who lifted it into the net.
Three Devils made their NHL debuts - Pavel Zacha, Steven Santini and Miles Wood. Zacha, the sixth pick in the draft last year, had two assists.
The game was tied 1-all after the first period, but that was because Sparks was outstanding, making 18 saves. The Devils had three power plays in the period but their only goal came when Smith-Pelly backhanded a rebound into the net after Zacha earned his first NHL point by nudging a faceoff toward the goal.
It's Smith-Pelly's eighth goal since coming to the Devils in a deal prior to the trade deadline on Feb. 29, and first in nine games.
Parenteau gave the Maple Leafs the lead at 2:53. Brooks Laich had a shot hit off two goalposts and Parenteau slammed a rebound into the open net for his 20th goal of the season, tying his career high set in 2010-11 with the Islanders.
NOTES: Laich retrieved the puck after Parenteau scored and flipped it to his bench. The sellout crowd chanted ''Patty, Patty, Patty'' as Elias started for New Jersey. ... The Devils honored former general manager and current Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello during a stoppage in the first period. Lamoriello left the Devils last season and later joined Toronto. The team displayed a ''Thank You Lou'' sign on the scoreboard. ... Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise and David Clarkson had 30 goals apiece for the Devils in 2011-12. ...Ruutu's assist was his first point in 33 games this season.