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Playoff profile: The Zach Factor

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils

Zach Parise hopes to get a leg up on the Rangers in Friday night's Game 2.

email – More than just the Devils' leading scorer in the regular season, Zach Parise was also one of the club's biggest gamebreakers.

He'll be one of the players the Devils will look to Friday night when they face the Rangers in Game 2 of their opening-round series with the Rangers at Prudential Center.

Parise was New Jersey's top offensive threat during the 2007-08 campaign, netting career-high totals in goals (32), assists (33) and points (65) in just his third NHL season.

He assisted on the Devils' lone goal in Wednesday's 4-1 loss in Game 1, digging the puck out of the left corner for Patrik Elias along the left boards. Elias found Paul Martin at the right circle for a second-period power-play tally that tied the contest at 1-1.

Take a tour of "The Rock" with Zach Parise
Parise then nearly set up the go-ahead tally late in the second, flipping across the front of the net for an Elias one-timer that was stopped by Henrik Lundqvist.

The Devils struggled against the Rangers during the regular season, winning just one of eight meetings. But Parise was among New Jersey's best producers against their cross-river rlvals, tying for the club lead in points (2g-1a-3pts) with Jamie Langenbrunner (2g-1a), Dainius Zubrus (1g-2a) and Johnny Oduya (3a).

It was Parise's shootout backhander in the series finale against the Rangers that extended the extra session to a fourth round, when Elias beat Lundqvist off the cross bar to seal a 3-2 victory. The win secured home ice advantage for New Jersey in the postseason's first round.

Clutch performances were the hallmark of Parise's junior NHL season. The Minneapolis native tied Elias for the team lead in game-winning goals (8), five of which came in his last 30 games. Half of his winners were scored against divisional opponents.

A speedy left winger, Parise also led New Jersey with a career-high 17 multipoint games, including a pair of career-best four-point contests (3g-1a vs. Montreal, Nov. 30; 2g-2a vs. Boston, Dec. 5).

In 2006-07, he led the Devils in goals (31) and added 10 points (seven goals, three assists) in 11 playoff games. He tied a franchise record by scoring six goals in the six-game series win over Tampa Bay in last year's Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

New Jersey’s 1st-round selection, 17th overall, in the 2003 Entry Draft, Parise’s legendary amateur hockey resume includes 340 points in two seasons at Minnesota prep school power Shattuck-St. Mary’s; WCHA All-Rookie and NCAA West All-American in consecutive seasons at the University of North Dakota, and tournament MVP in Team USA’s historic gold-medal win at the 2004 World Juniors.

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