NEWARK, N.J. -- Devils captain Zach Parise has been reasonably effective and had his share of scoring chances, but he's still without a point through four games of the Stanley Cup final. The Devils need Parise's production sooner than later to extend the series.
Game Five is tonight in the Prudential Center with the Kings holding a 3-1 series lead after their loss Wednesday in Staples Center. New Jersey is trying to be the second team in NHL history to come back from a 3-0 series deficit in the finals to win the Cup.
"Zach’s game is so much more than the stat line," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said after a brief workout this morning. "He’s the heartbeat of our team. He’s the identity of our team. He forechecks. He backchecks. He kills penalties and in all situations. He really is our barometer. He’s the guy who makes us go whether he’s scoring or not. I don’t measure his game on goals and assists."
It's a good thing, too, at least in the finals.
Parise has 15 shots on goal in the four games but has nothing to show for them. He's actually without a point in five straight games, including the clincher against the Rangers in the conference finals. He's also minus-6 over the five-game span.
"I'm not concerned about his game," DeBoer said. "I know it's going to come."
The team that has scored the first goals and gone on to win each of the first four games. The Kings are 10-1 when they open the scoring throughout the playoffs while the Devils are 9-2 when they score first. Los Angeles has won a record 10 straight on the road in the postseason.
"I don’t think there’s any secret that we won the last game because, for the first time in the series, we found a way to get some momentum," DeBoer said. "It hasn’t been for a lack of effort. I think we’ve pushed hard enough in the first period of games to grab the lead at different points, but [Jonathan] Quick has either made a big save or they made a good defensive play to keep us off the board. That momentum is important for sure."
--- Bucky Gleason