NEWARK, N.J. -- Zach Parise is finally starting to feel like himself again. It took the Devils captain roughly 21 games this season, but his production is on the rise and his mental state is as strong as ever.
"Finally I'm starting to feel really good, which is kind of refreshing," Parise told NHL.com Friday morning. "Things are starting to come together a little bit."
Parise has points in eight of the last nine games, including four goals and eight assists for 12 points. He had his first three-point game of the season this past Monday in Tampa Bay and added another goal in Florida on Tuesday, helping the Devils sweep the road trip.
Parise had only six goals and five assists for 11 points in the first 21 games this season. He sat out all but one game over the final five and a half months of last season with a knee injury.
"The legs have always felt good, always been there, but I think it took a lot longer than I expected to just finally get back," Parise said. "Mentally was the hardest part. It got frustrating sometimes making some not so good plays out there. I don't know, all of a sudden you relax and everything starts to slow down. That's kind of what happened."
Parise also said it helps that he's back playing on the left wing. Devils coach Pete DeBoer experimented with him at center earlier in the season, but Adam Henrique has come in and contributed in a way that has allowed Parise to move over to the left side. Henrique, who has 23 points in 27 games, is the center on the top line with Ilya Kovalchuk on the right side.
Kovalchuk, by the way, has 10 points on five goals and five assists in the last nine games.
"You know what helps, too, is our line is playing really well," Parise said. "That makes a big difference right now."
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