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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
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By Phil Coffey
NHL.com

Watch Zach Parise highlights
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 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
L. Stempniak 55 15 25 6 40
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
A. Henrique 53 18 18 14 36
K. Palmieri 55 20 15 3 35
T. Zajac 47 8 18 7 26
D. Schlemko 47 6 9 -8 15
A. Larsson 55 2 11 12 13
D. Severson 51 1 12 -1 13
A. Greene 55 4 6 2 10
J. Josefson 44 3 7 -14 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 24 16 6 .930 2.01
K. Kinkaid 3 5 1 .909 2.52
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