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Parise keen on quest for 40 goals

Saturday, 04.10.2010 / 1:41 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Parise keen on quest for 40 goals
Parise closing in on 40 goals, 80 points.
Zach Parise is within reach of his second straight 40-goal season, but says that won’t factor into whether or not he rests this weekend. The Devils close out the regular season with home games Saturday against the Islanders and Sunday versus the Sabres.

New Jersey (46-27-7) entered the weekend tied with Pittsburgh atop the Atlantic Divison.

“I wouldn’t jeopardize if I thought I needed rest for the playoffs for one extra goal,” Parise said after Saturday’s optional morning skate. “I don’t think it’s worth it. I think both tonight’s and tomorrow’s games are going to be important, so I’m not worried about it.”

Parise has 37 with two games to go, and could become the second Devil to record back-to-back 40-goal seasons. John MacLean (42, 41, 45) did it in three straight from 1988-89 to 1990-91. Parise notched a career-high 45 last season, coming three shy of matching Brian Gionta’s franchise record.

With 78 points, Parise is also gunning to become the first Devil to collect 80 in back-to-back seasons.

Parise would join Ilya Kovalchuk as the second Devil to reach 40 this season. Kovalchuk scored his 40th on April 2 against Chicago.

“It’s a big number,” Parise said. “It’d be a nice number to hit again. We’ll see. You never know. You just keep shooting the puck and see what happens. But it’s always a nice any time you can get a nice, round number like that.”

Lately, Parise has enjoyed chemistry with Dainius Zubrus. The two wingers skated together for all three games of New Jersey’s recent 2-1-0 road trip. Travis Zajac centered them for consecutive shutout wins at Carolina and Atlanta before Patrik Elias took over as their center in Thursday’s 3-2 loss in Florida.

Parise had two goals, two assists during the trip, while Zubrus recorded a goal and four assists.

“I think we’ve been playing really well together,” Parise said. “I think he does a good job in the corners, making space. When he’s moving his feet and he’s moving the puck quickly, that’s when he’s playing his best, and I think he’s been doing that for the last few games. I really like playing with him.”

Zubrus has been a versatile component for Jacques Lemaire’s club. One night he can anchor the fourth line, as he did against Boston on March 30. Another night, he can score off of a Parise pass, then set up a Parise goal, as he did against the Hurricanes on April 3.

“When Zubie’s on top of his game, he can play anywhere,” Lemaire said. “You can use him to check, you can use him on the top line. He can do a lot of things, that’s the beauty of it.”

That includes clicking with Parise, who this year became the first Devil to register four straight 30-goal seasons.

“I’m a big believer in chemistry,” Parise said. “I think certain guys play well with each other. It’s not always two of the most skilled guys but certain guys play well together, for whatever reason. You know certain things about different players: where they’re going to go [on the ice], sometimes to the point where you don’t even need to look, you just know where you’re going to be.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Palmieri 82 30 27 3 57
A. Henrique 80 30 20 10 50
T. Zajac 74 14 28 3 42
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
D. Severson 72 1 20 -8 21
R. Boucher 39 8 11 -13 19
D. Schlemko 67 6 13 -22 19
J. Moore 73 4 15 -12 19
A. Larsson 82 3 15 15 18
J. Blandisi 41 5 12 -14 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 27 25 6 .924 2.15
K. Kinkaid 9 9 1 .904 2.81
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