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Parise lighting the lamp down homestretch

Tuesday, 03.3.2009 / 3:48 PM ET / Features
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Parise lighting the lamp down homestretch
New Jersey\'s Zach Parise is in the hunt for a 50-goal season and ruining the Devils\' reputation as a defense-only team in the process.
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By Phil Coffey
NHL.com

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Zach Parise has just about ruined the New Jersey Devils' carefully honed image as a defense-only team.

Not only ruined it, but shattered it.

Through 63 games this season, Parise has scored 38 goals, second only to Washington's dynamic Alex Ovechkin. Parise is fourth in points with 77, trailing Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin, Ovechkin and the Penguins' Sidney Crosby. That's the NHL's high-rent district and a roster of the League's top three players. And Parise is making every effort to make it into this exclusive club.

Parise is poised to become the first Devils player to score 50 goals in a season. Judging from the "MVP, MVP" chants Parise has heard at Prudential Center after recent Devils games, the fans have spoken. In the days when Martin Brodeur's dramatic return to the ice has been a lead story, Parise also has been impossible to ignore.

He scored one goal and had two assists against Colorado in Brodeur's return, scored two goals and one assist in a 7-2 rout of the Panthers and had an assist in Sunday's 4-0 win against the Flyers, all wins for Brodeur.

"Zach is strong, he's got great hands, he's got great knowledge of the game, he can shoot the puck, knows how to pass the puck, knows how to get into areas to score and knows how to make guys better around him," New Jersey coach Brent Sutter said. "He's what you'd say is a complete player, in just about every aspect of the game and, yet, he's only going to get better."


"Every year, I just want to do better than I did the year before and things just happen to be going really well right now," Parise said. "You don't want to look too far ahead or get too excited about anything, so I just want to keep doing what I've been doing. If it happens that I score 50 goals, it'll be awesome."

"I don't like talking about myself," Parise told reporters. "But it makes you feel like you're doing the right thing and it's great to hear your fans cheering for you like that."

OK, Parise doesn't like to talk about himself, so let's allow other the opportunity.

"I think he definitely has the capability of putting in 50," Langenbrunner said. "The first thing you notice about Zach is his work ethic. He plays at a high level and goes at it non-stop. It's fun to watch and I think the rest of our team looks at and sees him playing that hard and there's no reason for us not to be following. He sets a great example."

"I think it looks good for him," said Brian Gionta, who scored 48 goals for the Devils in 2005-06. "He's played great and has been our best player out there. He makes a lot happen offensively and, hopefully, he can just keep it up for us."

Parise, Langenbrunner and Travis Zajac have formed a dynamic top line in New Jersey, while Gionta and the resurgent Patrik Elias (12th in League scoring with 24 goals and 43 assists) have excelled on the second line, giving the Devils plenty of offense.

"Our line has been playing really well and we're getting a lot of good scoring chances every game," Parise said. "We're not flashy; we're just pretty smart and good defensively. It just seems like we have that chemistry working or something. The three of us have taken advantage of our time together."

NHL.com staff writer Mike Morreale contributed to this report.

Author: Phil Coffey | NHL.com Sr. Editorial Director

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 75 16 27 -6 43
M. Cammalleri 68 27 15 2 42
P. Elias 69 13 21 -20 34
S. Gomez 58 7 27 -10 34
S. Bernier 67 16 16 2 32
T. Zajac 74 11 14 -3 25
A. Larsson 64 3 21 2 24
A. Greene 82 3 19 1 22
E. Gelinas 61 6 13 -2 19
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 31 9 .925 2.26
K. Kinkaid 6 5 4 .915 2.59