NEWARK, NJ Two days between Game 4 and Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals along with a cross-country trip from Los Angeles to lovely Newark could definitely put a crimp in New Jerseys momentum. But the Devils showed life in making it a 3-1 series after their victory over the Kings in Game 4, and Devils captain Zach Parise is looking forward to building on that momentum.
We were pretty anxious to get it going right after the last game. So were excited to play right now, said Parise. Especially since were at home in front of our crowd who has been great to us through the entire playoffs were excited to get it going for them.
The first goal is important, but I think as has been the case in most games in this series the least amount of mistakes is going to decide who wins or loses. Thats the way things have gone.
Parise hasnt registered a point and is a minus-2 in four games against the Kings thus far, and tried out some new sticks during an optional Saturday morning skate as he blasted a few hundred pucks at the net.
With that kind of work ethic Devils coach Pete DeBoer isnt concerned about his captain breaking through and helping bring the series back to Los Angeles for a very important Game 6.
Zachs game is so much more than the stat line, said DeBoer. Hes the heart beat of our team. Hes the identity of our team. He forechecks. He backchecks. He kills penalties. He plays in all situations. Hes our barometer and hes what makes us go whether hes scoring or not. I dont measure his game on goals and assists. Hes creating opportunities and eventually theyre going to go in."
Its tough right now for everybody to score and Im not concerned about his game. I know its going to come.
All that being said the DeBoer-proclaimed heartbeat of the team knows that its time for him to stand and deliver like that the guy thats scored 30 plus goals for the Devils in each of the last five healthy seasons for the New Jersey club.
The opportunities are there. Theyre just not going in, but were executing. Thats the difference. Trust me; wed all love to be racking up the points right now. But were doing other things well and thats how we judge our game.
But its always better if you can score and wind up on the scoresheet. You just try to leave it alone and not switch things up. Dont over analyze. All three of us have scored a lot of goals in this league and well continue to score a lot of goals in this league. But I think the more you think and critique it keeps going down and downworse and worse. You just leave it alone.
The Kings have to hope that Parise continues going down and down in the series, but hes generated 15 shots on net in the four games and will eventually break through if given enough time and space to attack. Thats what the heartbeat of a Cup-winning team would do with untold free agent riches waiting on the horizon.