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At the Rink blog

Parise back in familiar spot

Wednesday, 11.02.2011 / 12:05 PM

By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer / At the Rink blog

NEWARK, N.J. -- Zach Parise's brief career as an NHL center appears to be over.
 
Forced into the role due to an offseason injury to Travis Zajac and one during the season to Jacob Josefson, the Devils moved Parise from left wing to center in an effort to generate offense.
 
It didn't have the desired effect.
 
The Devils were held to one goal on 24 shots against the Penguins on Oct. 22, one night after losing Josefson for 3-4 months due to a broken collarbone. In the three games that followed, coach Peter DeBoer had Parise center a line with Ilya Kovalchuk on the left wing.
 
The Devils went 1-2-0 in those games and scored just seven goals, so DeBoer decided to move Parise back to left wing for tonight's home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN).
 
Despite the team's struggles offensively -- they are tied for 28th in the League with an average of 2.00 goals per game -- DeBoer feels the Devils are on the verge of breaking out.
 
"We just have to continue what we're doing. I think they're going to come," DeBoer said. "We're not getting 15 shots a night. We're getting 30-plus. Kovalchuk had seven the other night (against Dallas). I believe they're going to come. We have to get a little grittier around the net."
 
After struggling at the position last season, DeBoer will try Kovalchuk at right wing tonight. Here are the rest of the Devils' projected lines:
 
Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Mattias Tedenby - Ryan Carter - David Clarkson
Cam Janssen - Brad Mills - Nick Palmieri
 
Henrik Tallinder - Adam Larsson
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov
 
Martin Brodeur will start in goal, with Johan Hedberg the backup.
 
For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

Playing for my favorite team growing up, I've probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway. It feels good to actually do it in real life.

— Dale Weise, who grew up a Canadiens fan, on scoring the overtime winner in Montreal's 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay in Game 1