Sami Vatanen is still searching the Prudential Center rafters for this puck.
The Devils defenceman got flat out punked by former Devil Adam Henrique in his first game back in New Jersey since being dealt to Anaheim at the end of November. Henrique picked up speed through the neutral zone and alley-ooped the puck way over the head of Vatanen before beating the confused blueliner cleanly and putting a nifty little backhand over the glove of his former goaltender to cap off an absurd effort.
A goal-of-the-year candidate on its own was accentuated by the irony of the two parties involved in the play. Henrique, along with Joseph Blandisi and a third-rounder were dealt to the Ducks on Nov. 30 for Sami Vatanen and a conditional draft pick. In the first game between the two clubs since the transaction, Henrique returned to Newark and made a statement—with the guy he got directly traded for playing the role of victim.
A third-round pick by New Jersey in 2008 and consistent 40-to-50-point guy, Henrique was a beloved member of the organization and a bright spot on a team that really struggled the past few seasons. The 27-year-old, who has eight points in nine games since joining the Ducks, was given a video tribute and standing ovation by the crowd at the Prudential Center during a stoppage of play in the first period.
His homecoming was spoiled by four unanswered Devils goals as Henrique's former club grabbed the win. Henrique, however, shouldn't be too upset about the loss, as on top the ovation and his breathtaking goal, he received maybe the greatest parting gift in the history of parting gifts: These Seinfeld-inspired "pads of seduction" he designed as a joke for a goalie gear contest last season.
Adam Henrique won the trade, obviously.