With Martin Brodeur sidelined with a long-term injury, backup goaltender Scott Clemmensen has received most of the credit for the New Jersey Devils' success over the past two months.
As good as Clemmensen has been, a case can be made that left wing Zach Parise is just as responsible.
Parise and the Devils seek their fourth win in five games on Sunday when they face the last-place Ottawa Senators at the Prudential Center.
There is no denying how valuable Clemmensen has been for New Jersey (22-12-3) since Brodeur went down with a torn biceps injury in early November. The career backup has seized the starting role by going 14-4-1 with a 2.17 goals-against average in his last 19 starts. He has allowed one goal in six of his past 13 appearances, giving up more than three goals only once during that span.
Clemmensen was sharp again in Friday's 4-1 victory over Montreal, making 33 saves as the Devils rebounded from a disappointing loss to Dallas on New Year's Eve.
"I had a good feeling," Devils coach Brent Sutter said. "I trust that group inside the room. I had good vibes coming to the rink today that we were going to play a really good game. We had a tremendous effort from our goaltender right out."
Captain Jamie Langenbrunner and Parise each had a goal and an assist for New Jersey, which had been shut out in back-to-back home games before Friday's win.
Parise's goal was his team-leading 22nd of the season and fourth in four games. The fourth-year forward is fifth in the NHL with 46 points and is only 20 away from surpassing the career-best 65 he had last season.
Parise has been remarkably consistent this season. His longest stretch without a goal is four games and he has recorded at least one point in 27 of his 37 contests.
Facing Ottawa (13-18-5) could set Parise up for another big performance. He matched a career high with four assists in New Jersey's 5-1 home win over Ottawa on Dec. 19, and has 15 points in his last 12 games versus the Senators.
One of the league's top teams for the past decade, Ottawa hasn't been anything close to that this season. The Senators are last in the Northeast Division and have more points than only the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference.
An eight-game road trip has not come at a good time for Ottawa, which dropped to 1-4-0 on the trek with Saturday's 3-1 defeat to Toronto.
Captain Daniel Alfredsson had the lone goal for the Senators, who have been outscored 46-18 during a 1-11-2 road skid.
"A very tough loss for us," Alfredsson said. "We started the game really good, created a lot of chances. (Vesa) Toskala played outstanding tonight, we should've had four or five goals."
Right wing Dany Heatley had an assist, but failed to score for the 10th time in 11 games.
A lack of offensive depth is one of the biggest problems facing the Senators in the second half of the season. Heatley, Alfredsson and Jason Spezza have accounted for 42 of the team's league-low 84 goals.
The Devils have won three straight overall against the Senators and four of five at home in the series.