NEWARK, N.J. -- Let's end the suspense. Zach Parise is, indeed, the silent but deadly type.
For fear of saying something he'd regret, the Devils' captain uncharacteristically opted to skip his usual talk with the media following his team's 3-0 setback to the New York Rangers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final on Saturday at Prudential Center. It created quite a stir with reporters, but not with any of his teammates. They all knew he would come back even stronger.
In Game 4 on Monday, Parise let his play do the talking with a pair of goals and one assist to lead the Devils to a 4-1 victory. The victory enabled the New Jersey Devils to even the best-of-seven series, 2-2.
"After you guys [ticked] him off, he may have to keep walking out if he's going to come back with games like that," rookie center Adam Henrique said. "Obviously, he had a huge game. He's our leader, he works so hard for the guys around here and he provides so much energy. He's a guy you can't replace."
Parise's power-play goal 2:41 into the third period gave the Devils some needed breathing room at 3-0. He'd later hit into an empty net with 1:29 on the clock and the Rangers pressing with an extra attacker.
"I think Zach's been playing really well," Devils goalie Martin Brodeur said. "He's been on the puck a lot and I think it's tough when you don't find the back of the net, or you have a hard time scoring, not just individually, but as a team. We were shut out twice in three game [entering Game 4] so when you come through and score big goals in the right time of the game, I'm sure it feels real good for the offensive guy."
Parise had gone five straight games without a goal before Monday's effort, which marked a personal-high three playoff points. The offensive outburst came alongside center Travis Zajac and right wing Dainius Zubrus.
"He's a little energy ball," Zubrus said. "It's very easy playing with him because he always keeps an honest effort so it's easier to read a player that way because he doesn't turn away from pucks. He'll stop and take a hit, or make a play along the boards on the forecheck. He does those things and does them better than anyone else."
Zajac, who took a picturesque pass from Parise off a two-on-one and drove a shot past Henrik Lundqvist 11:59 into the first for a 2-0 lead, knew it was only a matter of time before Parise broke loose offensively.
"He's been playing well throughout the playoffs and I'm sure it's nice for him to be rewarded this way," Zajac said. "He's a hard worker and knows how to go to the hard areas. He was all over the ice, finishing checks and plays and that was a big goal on the power play in the third. He does it all."
"I kind of had an idea he'd get it over to me," Zajac said with a smile. "He doesn't get as much credit for his passing as he does scoring goals. He's a great passer and was able to find me there. I was lucky to get a good shot away."
Parise expects the intensity to pick up in Game 5 at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.
"I think the intensity is only going to rise from here," he said. "There's a lot at stake, and we were up for the challenge. I think it's going to be tough going into that building … it's always hard. But I think we're ready for it and we'll be all right."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter: @mike_morreale
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