NEWARK, N.J. — Patrik Elias scored his 400th career goal and the New Jersey Devils sent the Toronto Maple Leafs to their 11th straight loss, 4-1 Friday night.
Cory Schneider had 33 saves, giving up a third-period power-play goal to Tyler Bozak. Tuomo Ruutu, Steve Bernier and Jaromir Jagr also scored as the streaking Devils won their third straight for the first time since the start of the season and improved to 8-2-2 in the last dozen games.
The Maple Leafs were defeated 10 consecutive times in the 1966-67 season, but all of those losses were in regulation. Toronto’s current skid includes a 2-1 shootout loss to New Jersey on Jan. 28, earning the Maple Leafs a point in the standings.
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The 1966-67 Toronto team rebounded with a 10-game unbeaten streak (eight wins, two ties) and won the Stanley Cup. It was the last time the Maple Leafs were in a Cup final.
Toronto has a chance to end the streak Saturday against Edmonton, the NHL’s second-worst team.
Elias, who has spent his entire 17-year NHL career with the Devils, became the 91st player in league history to score 400 goals with a shot from inside the right circle early in the second period off a nice pass by Travis Zajac. It came less than a minute after Elias hit the post.
Ruutu had given the Devils the lead midway through the first period, aided by a lucky bounce off the boards behind the net. Ruutu made a cross-ice pass to Mark Fraser at the left point, but Fraser’s shot was wide of the net. The puck came out the right side and Ruutu slid the puck in off the skate of goaltender James Reimer, who could not get to the goal post quick enough.
Bernier extended the lead to 3-0 later in the second period with his sixth goal in eight games. Reimer made a pad save on a shot by Adam Larsson from the right point, but the rebound hit the back of Bernier’s skate and went into the net.
Until Bozak scored with 8:09 left in regulation, the closest the Maple Leafs came was a shot off the crossbar by former Devil David Clarkson in the first period.
Bozak got his 15th by tapping the rebound of Phil Kessel’s shot into an open net. Kessel’s shot hit off the crossbar and the Devils seemed to stop playing, thinking the shot went in the net.
Jagr scored into an empty net for his 716th career goal, one behind Phil Esposito for fifth in NHL history.
NOTES: Devils F Adam Henrique celebrated his 25th birthday. …Kessel was lucky not to be cut when hit in the face by the stick of Toronto D Cody Franson in a first-period scramble in front of the Leafs net. …Toronto D Dion Phaneuf missed his fifth straight game with an upper-body injury. …Devils RW Michael Ryder has been a healthy scratch for five straight games. …New Jersey was 4-0-1 on the just completed five-game homestand.