NEWS

Tracking the Zach Attack

At season's quarter mark, Parise producing like an MVP

Friday, 11.20.2009 / 3:00 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Tracking the Zach Attack
Zach Parise has barreled out of the gate after his breakout season of a year ago, and appears poised for an even more impressive encore in 2009-10.

While not much has slowed the 14-5-1 Devils through the first 20 games of the season, it seems nothing can stop Parise from a repeat of last year, when he collected a team-high 45 goals and 94 points.

At the quarter mark of the campaign, Parise is on pace to become the first 50-goal and 100-point scorer in franchise history with 53 goals, 53 assists and 106 points. He'll carry a six-game goals streak into Dallas, where the Devils battle the Stars on Saturday.

Parise leads all Devils with 13 goals and 26 points, and continued his red-hot play with two goals in Thursday's 3-2 shootout loss in Nashville. After dropping their first road game of the season Monday at Philadelphia, the Devils suffered back-to-back losses for just the second time this year.

New Jersey shook off an 0-2-0 start with 14 wins in its next 16 games. Parise has been the constant catalyst, and has skated recently on a line with Travis Zajac and Patrik Elias, the franchise's all-time leading scorer.

Parise warmed slowly, notching one goal in his first five games. That was followed by five goals during a four-game goals streak from Oct. 16-24. He recorded three assists during a five-game goal drought from Oct. 28-Nov. 6, and has been unstoppable since.

Parise's current streak matches Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos for the NHL's longest this season, while also tying the longest in Devils' history (Parise, Bobby Holik, Valeri Zelepukin, Kirk Muller and Pat Verbeek). Fourteen of the New Jersey's last 19 goals have come with Parise on the ice, and Jersey's Team has climbed to within one point of Washington for the Eastern Conference lead.

Head coach Jacques Lemaire has applauded Parise's work ethic. He is the rare player who can dominate the scoresheet without missing a beat defensively.

"It’s hard to believe, but yes," Lemaire said. "There’s only, I wouldn’t say a handful, maybe a little bit more than a handful of players that you have adjust for them because they can’t do this. They’re strictly offensive players, and if you take anything off of them by making them play defensively, then they’re not as good offensively. There’s not a lot of players like that, but there are a few."

New Jersey is tied with Buffalo for the fewest goals allowed (43) in the League, and leads the Atlantic despite having scored the fewest goals of any team in the division (55). Parise, who has 11 points in his last six games, has accounted for the lion's share of New Jersey's tallies.

Entering Friday's action, Parise was tied for third in points with Anaheim's Corey Perry and San Jose's Joe Thornton. He's a plus-10 in the last five games and leads NHL forwards with a plus-15. His next game-winning goal will tie him with Brian Gionta and Stephane Richer for the fourth-most in Devils' history (30).

Parise's 13 goals account for a higher percentage (25%) of his team's production than either Alex Ovechkin (19.5%) or Marian Gaborik (24.2%), who lead the League with 15 goals apiece. When Ovechkin recently missed six games with an upper body injury, Washington's only two losses came against New Jersey.

Ovechkin has led the League in shots every season since he entered the NHL in 2005. As of right now, he would have to overtake Parise's League-leading 91 for the top spot. Only Ovechkin's 85 points (46g-39a, 58 games) are higher than Parise's 76 (37g-39a, 66 games) since Jan. 1, confirming Parise's standing among the game's elite.

Strong goaltending and reliable play from a depleted defense corps have steered the Devils through several injuries to key regulars in the early going. Twenty games in, New Jersey has already lost 68 man-games to injury.

Martin Brodeur (12-5-1, 2.19 GAA, .921 save percentage) and Yann Danis (2-0, 1.00, .964) have given the Devils a chance to win every night. Defenseman Andy Greene was scratched from a handful of games to start the year, but has shown he can handle almost 30 minutes of ice time in the absence of top blueliners Paul Martin (arm) and Johnny Oduya (lower body).

Through the Devils' ups and downs with injuries, Parise has been a tireless offensive force. He was named an alternate captain this season for the first time in his five-year career, and has earned every stitch holding the 'A' on his sweater.

But Parise does more than make the Devils dangerous. A proven 40-goal talent who's responsible in his own zone and comes to play every night also sets a good example for the next generation of Jersey's Team.

"Zach is a great model for the young guys," Lemaire said. "Zach doesn’t have his success because he’s cutting corners short, or because he’s not working every night. That’s why he’s got success, because he’s working every night, he’s working every shift. He does what he has to do every shift to be successful. That’s why he’s good."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

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