Parise looking to give the Devils a home heartbeat


Parise looking to give the Devils a home heartbeat

NEWARK, NJ Two days between Game 4 and Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals along with a cross-country trip from Los Angeles to lovely Newark could definitely put a crimp in New Jerseys momentum. But the Devils showed life in making it a 3-1 series after their victory over the Kings in Game 4, and Devils captain Zach Parise is looking forward to building on that momentum.

We were pretty anxious to get it going right after the last game. So were excited to play right now, said Parise. Especially since were at home in front of our crowd who has been great to us through the entire playoffs were excited to get it going for them.

The first goal is important, but I think as has been the case in most games in this series the least amount of mistakes is going to decide who wins or loses. Thats the way things have gone.

Parise hasnt registered a point and is a minus-2 in four games against the Kings thus far, and tried out some new sticks during an optional Saturday morning skate as he blasted a few hundred pucks at the net.

With that kind of work ethic Devils coach Pete DeBoer isnt concerned about his captain breaking through and helping bring the series back to Los Angeles for a very important Game 6.

Zachs game is so much more than the stat line, said DeBoer. Hes the heart beat of our team. Hes the identity of our team. He forechecks. He backchecks. He kills penalties. He plays in all situations. Hes our barometer and hes what makes us go whether hes scoring or not. I dont measure his game on goals and assists. Hes creating opportunities and eventually theyre going to go in."

Its tough right now for everybody to score and Im not concerned about his game. I know its going to come.

All that being said the DeBoer-proclaimed heartbeat of the team knows that its time for him to stand and deliver like that the guy thats scored 30 plus goals for the Devils in each of the last five healthy seasons for the New Jersey club.

The opportunities are there. Theyre just not going in, but were executing. Thats the difference. Trust me; wed all love to be racking up the points right now. But were doing other things well and thats how we judge our game.

But its always better if you can score and wind up on the scoresheet. You just try to leave it alone and not switch things up. Dont over analyze. All three of us have scored a lot of goals in this league and well continue to score a lot of goals in this league. But I think the more you think and critique it keeps going down and downworse and worse. You just leave it alone.

The Kings have to hope that Parise continues going down and down in the series, but hes generated 15 shots on net in the four games and will eventually break through if given enough time and space to attack. Thats what the heartbeat of a Cup-winning team would do with untold free agent riches waiting on the horizon.

Bruins hope to keep cooking with a winning recipe


Bruins hope to keep cooking with a winning recipe

The Bruins seemed to discover a winning formula on the West Coast. Now the challenge is to keep it going.

It took them more than a month of play in the regular season, but they finally won two games in a row. Anton Khudobin and the B's played strong defense and finally built leads against the Kings and Sharks, and they avoided the kind of soft goal or defensive mistake that has been at the heart of so many of their losses.

Clearly that kind of tight, defensive game is how they're going have to play until they get their full lineup back, and they need plenty of wins. They're currently stuck in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, three points out of a playoff spot.

"It's always nice to get a couple of wins, especially against tough teams," said David Krejci, who is scoreless but averaging almost 17 minutes of ice time  in the two games since returning from a back injury. "We knew we had some areas of our game that we had to improve, and we still do after the start to the game we had against San Jose. It's nice to get two in a row, and we're focusing on three in [New Jersey]. We're building toward something, and we're on the right track. It's a big game [against the Devils].

"Playing with a lead, playing good defensively and having a good, structured game with everybody buying in . . . when you have a young team and you're playing strong clubs like LA and San Jose, it really says a lot about what we're trying to do here when you can get the job done."

The good news is the Bruins are going to make it through the Thanksgiving marker within shouting distance of a playoff spot, but they're still just scratching the surface of what they need to do to stay relevant in the East. They're hoping that finally reeling off a couple of consecutive wins can start a run of good hockey at a time when they desperately need it.

"I think we've played as a five-man unit" said Kevan Miller. "Forwards are getting back to help the 'D', and defensemen are stepping up to help the forwards. When you play like that and everybody is on the same page, it makes it that much easier. I think everybody, whether you're coming from Providence or you're up here, has played the same systems, but it can be a little bit of a struggle to get everybody on the same page.

"We've done a pretty good job of that, but doing it for 60 minutes has been a bit of an issue. We're trying to work on that."


Grzelcyk happy to be back w/ B's and confident in his game


Grzelcyk happy to be back w/ B's and confident in his game

BRIGHTON, Mass – It had to be a bitter pill for Matt Grzelcyk to be sent back down to the AHL after playing solidly for the Bruins earlier this season. 

The 23-year-old Charlestown native was excellent playing in place of Torey Krug in Boston’s opening night win over the Nashville Predators, but his stay didn’t last very long. The former Boston University standout was back in the minor leagues shortly afterward once Krug returned from his fractured jaw a little earlier than expected. Now Krug is again banged up again with an upper body injury, and Grzelcyk has been called up to fill in for Krug during Wednesday night’s pre-Thanksgiving road game in New Jersey against the Devils.

Once again it will be about a focus on puck-moving and power play for Grzelcyk, who is the closest thing that the Bruins have to the smaller, skilled Krug in their minor-league system. 

“I was happy with how things went before I got sent to Providence, so I’m just going to try to do the things that I was doing well before I got sent down. Mentally knowing that I can play at the NHL level [is huge], and just going through the experience was positive,” said Grzelcyk. “Mentally my first year I think I was a little too nervous and tentatively with my play, and that’s not me at all when I’m at my best. I’m confident with the puck, and confident with my speed and ability. It was just about going out and doing it on the ice.”

Grzelcyk was okay down in Providence with four assists and a plus-4 rating in 14 games, but he’s been patiently waiting for another NHL call since logging 12:11 of solid puck-moving ice time in his lone appearance for Boston this season. Now he’ll get it in a likely pairing with Kevan Miller against the New Jersey Devils

“He’s a puck-mover. He’s quick. He can get up the ice and support the rush, and he’s a good distributor,” said Cassidy of Grzelcyk. “There are a lot of natural similarities to Torey [Krug] because of their physical makeup, but they are similar [players] with Torey at this level being a bit more significant offensive player. Whether it’s in [Grzelcyk] or not time will tell, but we believe it is and we just need to get it out of him.”

Grzelcyk will get a chance to show that offensive wrinkle and more when he suits up against the New Jersey Devils for his second game of the season after paying his dues with the P-Bruins overt the last month.