Adam Henrique insisted he was not aware of Pete DeBoer’s comments Thursday morning in which the Devils’ coach said expectations might be too high for the 24-year-old forward when it comes to scoring goals.

Twenty goals are about right, DeBoer suggested, and asking for more might be unrealistic.

But with Henrique, it’s always been the timing of his goals, not the number. Although he scored two goals in Thursday night’s 5-2 triumph over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Prudential Center, it was a shorthanded goal late in the second period that turned the game around and just might do the same for the season.

“It was a critical goal. It was a momentum-changing goal,” DeBoer said.

The Blue Jackets had shaved a 3-0 Devils lead to one goal when Travis Zajac was sent off for hooking Brandon Dubinsky with 33.9 seconds remaining in the second period.

Instead of giving up the tying goal, the Devils took a 4-2 lead when Henrique scored shorthanded with 18.1 seconds remaining in the period.
“That’s a back-breaker for them,” Devils goalie Cory Schneider said. “They’re thinking maybe they tie it up. It goes from that to a two-goal lead heading into the third period. That was for sure the play of the game.”

It was the pass of the season from Patrik Elias that made it happen.
Elias stripped the puck from the Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson at the point. He then flipped the puck from just outside his own blue line over Johnson and just ahead of Henrique.

“I kind of stripped their guy (of the puck), maybe got him on the hands a little bit and go away with one there,” Elias said. “I saw the D kind of staying up and Rico picking up good speed, so I just tried it and it worked out perfectly.