Things went from bad to worse for the Devils. During their latest defeat by a count of 3-1 to the Kings, homegrown star wing Zach Parise left the game with an injury following a collision with LA wing Kyle Clifford with 3:40 left in the second period. As WFAN radio tandem Matt Loughlin and Sherry Ross updated in the postgame, it's being termed a "lower body" injury.
Parise immediately flew back to New Jersey to be examined by team doctors. It could be potentially serious with it being a knee injury. Hopefully for No.9 and the Devils, they'll get more encouraging news.
"I didn't see him come out for the third. Hopefully it's nothing major," linemate Travis Zajac told The Ledger's Rich Chere. "Right now is not the time to lose a player like that."
Throughout a seven-year career, the '03 first round gem has been one of the most durable players in the league, only missing three games while becoming an All-Star. Arguably the best American, he became a folk hero with his dramatic tying goal that forced sudden death against Canada in the Vancouver Olympics. Even though Sidney Crosby broke USA hearts, the clutch goal along with a virtuoso performance in the tournament put Zach Attack on the radar. It followed up a breakout '08-09 season in which he established career bests in goals (45), assists (49), points (94), plus/minus (30), power play goals (14), power play points (30), shorthanded points (3), shots on goal (364) and matched his previous high in game-winners (8).
In 12 games this season including tonight, Parise was 3-3-6. Under first-year coach John MacLean, the team's struggled to find chemistry despite having Ilya Kovalchuk signed long-term along with '00 Cup hero Jason Arnott reunited with Patrik Elias. Regrettably, the Minnesota native entered Saturday tied with Arnott and Kovalchuk for the club lead in goals. After getting Jamie Langenbrunner's first and Elias' second in a 2-1 win over Anaheim Friday, they only got one against Jon Quick despite outshooting LA 20-4 in the third minus Parise. Surprise rookie defenseman Matt Taormina notched the only marker, putting him into a share of the lead with three. Before the Devils could attempt tying a game they trailed by two, Jarret Stoll scored 24 seconds later.
The Devils fell to 1-3-0 on the six-game trip with a pair of tough games against Vancouver tomorrow and defending Cup champ Chicago Wednesday. When they finally return home, the Rangers will be waiting for them.
Losing Parise for any stretch would be a crusher. Especially since he's a tireless worker who combines his speed and skill along with a great work ethic that makes him a fan favorite. The Devils are also still without defenseman Anton Volchenkov, who sat out a 10th straight game with a broken nose. He has begun skating and could return soon. They're probably holding the gritty ex-Senator out until the November 5 game versus the Blueshirts.
In the mean time, it'll be up to Kovalchuk who again was held off the board and booed roundly by Staples Center to pick up the slack. The electrifying Russian superstar finished with only two shots along with a minus-one rating in 20:18. It'll take a total team effort for New Jersey to turn it around. They'll enter Monday's contest at Vancouver with an East worst 3-8-1 mark for eight points, trailing only other Battle disappointment Buffalo who fell yet again 4-zip at Dallas.
As noted NJD blogger Hasan might say, something has to give.