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Parise lighting the lamp down homestretch

Tuesday, 03.03.2009 / 3:48 PM / 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

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 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51

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