NEWARK, N.J. – The way Zach Parise is playing these days, all the New Jersey Devils have to do is get the puck on the net.
If there is a rebound, Parise probably will find it. Parise scored on two rebounds, including the winner on a third-period power play, and added two assists to help the Devils win for the 11th time in 13 games, 4-2 over the New York Islanders on Wednesday night.
“I think it was only a matter of time with him,” said linemate Jamie Langenbrunner, who also scored twice. “When you play as hard as he does, you are going to get rewarded, especially when you have the skill that he has. He puts himself in position to score goals.”
Parise is having his best season playing with Langenbrunner and centre Travis Zajac. The two goals gave Parise a career-best 34, two more than he had a year ago.
“This year I’m playing a little more confident, sometimes taking that extra second and that makes a big difference,” Parise said. “I just feel good on the ice right now. Travis is having a great season and so is Jamie. We are all kind of feeding off each other.”
Parise got his winner with 7:25 to play. Defenceman Paul Martin, who had assists on the Devils’ first three goals, took a shot from the point and Parise put the big rebound into an empty net.
“Trav and I just enjoy playing with him,” Langenbrunner said. “We know where he’s going to be. It makes our job pretty easy. We get the pucks to the net and he finds way to put them in.”
The goal game just seconds after Devils goalie Kevin Weekes stopped Richard Park and Sean Bergenheim in close on short-handed chances.
Langenbrunner iced the game with an empty-net goal as New Jersey beat the Islanders for the fourth time in four games this season. Weekes had 23 saves in picking up his fourth straight win.
Radek Martinek and Kyle Okposo scored for New York. Islanders goalie Joey MacDonald was outstanding on a night New Jersey had 50 shots.
“They drive a lot of guys to the net,” MacDonald said of the Devils. “That’s how they score their goals. That’s how Parise got a lot of them, just hanging around.”
The Devils rallied late in the first and second periods to tie it at 2 heading into the third period.
Langenbrunner tied it with less than four minutes left in the middle session with a slap shot from the left circle. The power-play goal came 18 seconds after Islanders captain Bill Guerin was called for hooking.
“They got a couple of guys who get their body in front of the net and they make it difficult on the goaltender,” MacDonald said. “They know how to box out the defencemen and our D is trying to get them out of the way. It makes for a lot of confusion.”
Okposo had given New York a 2-1 lead with a spectacular power-play goal earlier in the period. The second-year forward stopped a clearing pass by Johnny Oduya at the point, skated in and around defenseman Bryce Salvador and then put his own rebound past Weekes for his 11th goal of the season.
The Islanders took a 1-0 less than three minutes after the opening faceoff when Blake Comeau made a cross-ice pass to Martinek in the right circle for a shot into an open net.
Parise tied it with 1:21 left in the opening period. Martin, who had the primary assist on Langenbrunner’s goal, took a shot from the right point and Parise put the rebound home.
“He competes for everything he gets,” Devils coach Brent Sutter said. “That is why he is as successful as he is.”
Notes: Jay Pandolfo returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for nine straight games. … Islanders RW Trent Hunter was scratched because of a hip flexor. D Mark Streit missed his fourth straight game with an upper body injury. … Linesman Pierre Champoux took a hard fall late in the second period but didn’t miss any action. … Islanders F Doug Weight left the game with a knee injury. He will be re-evaluated on Thursday.