Devils’ Nathan Bastian pays homage to Tommy DeVito in viral goal celebration


EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — New Jersey Devils forward Nathan Bastian isn’t known for his goal scoring, entering Saturday night’s Stadium Series game against the Philadelphia Flyers with just three goals in 51 games this season.

Yet as the final horn sounded at MetLife Stadium, Bastian had scored two goals in the Devils’ 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in front of 70,328 fans — and had one of his goal celebrations go viral during the game.

In the second period, Bastian’s shot beat Flyers goalie Samuel Ersson to give New Jersey a 4-1 lead at the time. As he skated around to the side boards, Bastian removed his right glove, clasped his fingers together and motioned to the crowd.

It was the same gesture that earned New York Giants quarterback Tommy DeVito cult hero status last season when “The Passing Paisano” celebrated a three-touchdown performance against Washington with it, quickly becoming his trademark.

DeVito said the idea came from Giants assistant athletic trainer Phil Buzzerio, and that the gesture was a tribute to “the old Italians” who “when they talk, they start doing this” with their hands.

Bastian said his inspiration was, in fact, Tommy DeVito.

Bastian said that he and Devils forward Chris Tierney, who was scratched for the Stadium Series game, were “cooking up” some potential goal celebrations before the game.

Choosing that particular celebration was easy, as the Devils were playing in the same stadium as the quarterback that inspired it.

“I heard Tommy was going to be in the building so I was excited about it,” Bastian said.

The Devils forward, in his fifth NHL season, admitted that he wasn’t the first person to come to mind for a viral goal celebration.

“I guess it’s kind of funny because normally guys who score once every 15 games don’t plan celebrations,” he said. “But I had a good feeling tonight.”

Bastian was in his element at the Stadium Series, relishing the chance to play for such a large crowd and to participate in all the traditions of NHL outdoor games. That included the Devils arriving at MetLife in Fila tracksuits, tapping into “Sopranos” vibes for some Jersey pride.

“We decided on something very Jersey themed we wanted to be a part of,” he said. “I just showed up and everything was ready to go in my stall. So it was easy and it was a lot of fun for us.”

Despite having one of his most memorable games in the NHL, Bastian said the pregame costuming was a one-time-only thing.

“I don’t think we’re allowed to wear this again,” Bastian said.

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