NJD Preview: Devils vs. Flyers
Sunday, 03.01.2009 / 1:00 PM
New Jersey Devilsnewjerseydevils.com – Zach Parise
's recent play has brought the Prudential Center crowd to its feet with chants of "M-V-P."
The Devils' leading scorer could have Devlis' fans out of their seats again this afternoon, when Jersey's Team closes out a three-game homestand against the Philadelphia Flyers (1 p.m., MSG Plus, WFAN 660 AM).
Parise has seven points (3g-4a) in New Jersey's last four meetings with Philadelphia, the most of any Devil. The fourth-year left winger has been red-hot of late, scoring two goals and adding an assist in the Devils' 7-2 romp over the Florida Panthers Saturday in Newark.
"He's competitive and he wants to go out and score every shift," said Parise's linemate Travis Zajac
. "That's what makes him so good: he's always hungry around the net. He always wants to play his best."
Parise's 38 goals are second in the NHL behind only defending League MVP Alex Ovechkin. Parise has registered 22 multi-point games, including five two-goal outings.
Six different Devils scored on Saturday, including Brendan Shanahan, David Clarkson
and Brian Rolston
, who each had a goal and an assist. Zajac added a power-play goal, and Dainius Zubrus
notched New Jersey's seventh of the afternoon with 2:39 left in regulation.
Though Martin Brodeur
's return has been the biggest story around the Devils this week, it's their offense that has dominated the homestand.
New Jersey has outscored opponents 11-2 in the last two games, while leading the shots count by almost a two-to-one margin (78-41). Parise has enjoyed consecutive three-point games to move into fourth on the League's list (76) behind Evgeni Malkin (89), Ovechkin (81) and Sidney Crosby (79).
"We've done some good things here in the last few games," head coach Brent Sutter said Saturday. "I don't want to get too far ahead either. It was one of those games where you roll things over and let the guys play. We created a lot of offense here today. We were very good in our own zone as part of that. A good effort by everybody."
Brodeur has done what he's needed to, stopping 24 shots Thursday for a 4-0 win over Colorado and stopping 15 in the rout of Florida. With 546 wins, Brodeur needs five to match Patrick Roy's all-time mark (551). His 99 career shutouts are four shy of Terry Sawchuk's League record (103).
The four-time Vezina Trophy winner is 8-2-2 this season with a 1.96 goals-against average and three shutouts, and his 42 wins over the Flyers are the most he's recorded against any opponent.
The Devils (40-19-3, 83 pts.) have taken back-to-back games against the Flyers (33-17-10, 76 pts.), who trail New Jersey by seven points in the Atlantic Division race.
Philadelphia is likely to see the return of forward Daniel Briere, who was activated from injured reserve on Saturday.
Last season, Briere had 31 goals and 72 points to help the Flyers go from the worst team in the NHL to an Eastern Conference finalist. He has five goals and four assists in nine games this season, but hasn't played since injuring his groin on Dec. 2, and missed time earlier with a torn stomach muscle.
Though Briere is expected to contribute, Philadelphia may look again look to Jeff Carter for offense.
The Flyers' leader with 36 goals and 65 points, Carter has two goals and four assists in a four-game point streak. He has three goals and two assists in four games versus New Jersey this season.
Philadelphia has picked up points in seven of its last eight games, but will try to avoid losing two straight for the first time since Jan. 31 and Feb. 4. On Friday, the Flyers squandered an early two-goal lead at home and fell 4-3 in overtime to Montreal.
Joffrey Lupul and Mike Richards helped stake the Flyers to the lead in the opening nine minutes. Antero Niittymaki, battling Martin Biron for the starting goaltender job, gave up three goals in a 2:04 span late in the first.
with AP wire services