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Parise's hard work finally pays off

by Dave Lozo

NEWARK, N.J. -- Zach Parise was quite honest about his first goal of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night.

"You've got to get lucky sometimes," he said of his first-period power-play goal in the New Jersey Devils' 2-1 win against Los Angeles in Game 5 at Prudential Center that cut the Kings' lead in the best-of-seven series to 3-2.

When Devils assistant coach Adam Oates, the architect of the team's power play, is imagining ways to crack the Kings' nearly invincible penalty kill, he isn't drawing up the series of events that led to Parise's goal.

Parise fired a pass across the neutral zone that caught Patrik Elias off-guard and bounced to the right of Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, who came out of his crease to play the puck behind his net. However, Quick fumbled the puck behind the net, and Parise swooped in and stuffed a shot home before Quick could get back into position.

"I made a not-so-great pass across the ice," Parise said. I wasn't looking. I just saw Quick go out of the net and just went on the normal forecheck route that I've gone on a thousand times this year. He just happened to misplay it and put it on my stick."

Devils coach Peter DeBoer had his own theory for why Parise found a way to register his first point since the Eastern Conference Finals.

"I go into every game expecting Zach to do something big. He's that type of player," DeBoer said before referencing the media's consistent line of questioning about the struggles of the top unit of Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac. "I think you guys just (ticked) him off."

Parise, however, disagreed with his coach's analysis.

"I understand you guys have a job to do," Parise said. "No disrespect, but I don't read or listen to what you guys say. That doesn't bother me one way or another. I understand it comes with the territory, where we are, what's expected of certain players. But, again, like I said, I thought we were playing fine. You feel, when you're getting the opportunities, that if we kept working hard in getting those that the puck was eventually going to go in for us. Hopefully it will keep going in."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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