has no illusions about the tough position the Devils are in. It’s win or go home for Jersey’s Team, which hosts the Philadelphia Flyers for Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal on Thursday.
The Devils lost, 4-1, at Wachovia Center on Tuesday, and trail the best-of-seven series, 3-1.
“There’s really not much that has to be said,” Parise told WFAN’s Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts before Wednesday’s practice. “The only thing we can do is play hard the next game. Hopefully you win this next home game, all of a sudden there’s a little more pressure on them, and hopefully we can get a Game 7 at home. We have to play [Thursday] like we don’t want our season to end.”
Parise set up Ilya Kovalchuk
first-period power-play goal to give New Jersey a 1-0 lead before the Flyers notched the next four.
Sparking hope for a rally is that the Flyers will be without Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne in Game 5. Both players took shots off the foot in Game 4, and their absences could be the edge the Devils need to stave off a third straight first-round elimination.
They’re two of Philadelphia’s top forwards. Carter got his first points of the series with a pair of power-play goals and an assist on Tuesday. Gagne has two assists, and saw his bid for his first goal of the series robbed by Martin Brodeur
’s unforgettable save in the second period.
The daunting task ahead of the Devils? To win three straight against a team that has beaten them in eight of 10 meetings this season. New Jersey has rallied before from a 3-1 hole versus Brian Boucher and the Flyers, coming back to win their 2000 Eastern Conference Final series in seven.
Parise says the team needs to apply a full 60 minutes of pressure.
“We’ll play well against them for a period, period and a half, and it’s almost as if they push and we don’t push back,” Parise told WFAN. “The last two games we’ve gotten an early lead on the them, and then it’s kind of just like we wait and see; wait for them to do something so we can react. It’s kind of weird, but teams match up differently against different teams. They’ve had our number all year this year, kind of like we had Pittsburgh’s too. It’s funny how teams line up against each other.”
There are five remaining members from the 2000 squad that rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Flyers in the Eastern Conference Finals: Brodeur, Patrik Elias
, Jay Pandolfo and Colin White. Their experience has Parise believing anything is possible.
“It has happened before and that’s something we have to look back on,” he said. “It is possible. It’s just not over until one team wins the fourth game. We’ve got to come in with that mentality that we can still do this. We’ve won three games in a row a bunch this season. We’ve got to have that mentality and that cockiness that we can come back and win this, and it’s going to be tough for them to win the fourth one.”