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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 WSH 53 40 9 4 171 117 84
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
5 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
6 BOS 54 29 19 6 153 146 64
7 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
12 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
15 BUF 55 21 28 6 125 151 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 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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