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New York Islanders

Necessity is the Mother of Parise’s Performance

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New York Islanders

A week ago, New York Islanders forward Zach Parise was asked about his strong play, despite the lack of offense. “I like the way I’ve been playing, playing without the puck, and creating chances,” Parise said. “I keep telling the guys I’m a second-half player. Hopefully, the tide will turn here.”

Parise admitted following Tuesday’s win over the Philadelphia Flyers that his “second half player” line was more to make light of the situation.

Although the Islanders are still eight games shy of the halfway mark, the tide has indeed turned for the 37-year old.

From the start of the season until the end of December, Zach Parise had recorded just one goal and five assists in 27 games. But in eight games in 2022, Parise has two goals and four assists, which matches his point total in 19 fewer games.

What’s changed?

Not much, as Parise’s hard work has just been paying off as of late.

“I don’t really see any differences in his game. I think he just he’s being himself,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said following Tuesday’s win. “He’s getting rewarded just because of his play.”

It’s easy to look at Zach Parise’ stat sheet and think “okay, he’s got points as of late”, but there is so much more to the points he’s collected recently.

Out of the six points so far in January of 2022, three have given the Islanders the lead (1 goal, two assists) and the other three have tied the contests (three assists).

The goal on Tuesday night was Parise’s first game-winning goal as a member of the New York Islanders, his 78th career game-winner.

Let’s backtrack.

Back on Jan. 13 against the New Jersey Devils, the Islanders went down early in the contest. On a late power-play chance in the first period, Parise deflected a Beauvillier wrist shot as the puck bounced to the right of New Jersey netminder Scott Gillies. Josh Bailey picked up the loose puck and buried it to tie the contest and head to the first intermission tied, rather than trailing.

In the second period, it was Parise’s hard work down low that allowed Kieffer Bellows to feed Adam Pelech at the point before his shot gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead.

 

In the Islanders 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 18, Parise recorded the secondary assist on rookie defenseman Robin Salo’s first career NHL goal.

What is not in this video is the quick pass by Parise to Barzal at the blue line. Parise then filled the lane through the slot which forced Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim to back off Barzal.

Barzal now only had to compete with one player with that extra space, and a nice move opened up a prime shooting lane for Salo.

Against the Toronto Maple Leafs, a 3-1 loss back on Jan. 22, Parise exploded over Toronto’s blue line to score a beauty of a goal and tie the contest at one with exactly a minute to play in the opening period.

A great pass from Scott Mayfield and an impressive sequence for Parise led to a big goal against a juggernaut offense and should have allowed the Islanders to leave the ice with momentum.

But due to a weak play by Noah Dobson and a rather inexcusable line change, the Islanders allowed the go-ahead goal and eventual game-winner with under a second to go.

Now onto his two-point night against Philadelphia on Tuesday.

On Mathew Barzal’s power-play, the go-ahead goal with just over six minutes into the second period, Parise picked up the primary assist. Not only did he make a quick, on-the-money pass to Barzal for an easy snipe, it was Parise’s vision before he even asked for the pass from Brock Nelson that was quite impressive.

And for the game-winning goal with under 10 minutes to play in the third, Parise was not only able to stay onsides following Brock Nelson’s hesitation but was locked and loaded for a pass in the slot, as he made no mistake when the puck landed on his stick.

As they look to continue climbing the Metropolitan Division standings, the New York Islanders need secondary scoring.

With Parise’s uptick in offense, playing a part in over 30-percent of the Islanders scoring over the last four games, he’s been a critical contributor (offensively) in the Islanders 3-0-1 record over their previous four games.

Parise has been one of the Islanders better forwards this entire season, and now that hard work seems to be paying off.

And for an Islanders team that needs secondary scoring if they want to continue climbing the Metropolitan Division Standings, they will need Parise to continue producing and the little things that make him a valuable asset to the team.