On a night the New Jersey Devils retired the No. 27 of former captain Scott Niedermayer, their current captain sent the fans home happy.
Zach Parise scored a goal and set up three others, including a short-handed tally by Adam Henrique that ignited a game-turning, three-goal second period, and the Devils beat the Dallas Stars 6-3 on Friday night before a sellout crowd of 17,625.
”When you get a full house, you want to put on a show, no question, and these are the special nights where you really feel like you want to contribute,” Parise said. ”A lot of guys did.”
No one did it better than Parise. His steal and assist on Henrique’s goal that tied it at 2-2 was a thing of beauty. He stripped the puck from defenseman Stephane Robidas at the Dallas blue line, skated into the zone and found Henrique between the circles for a one-timer.
Devils coach Peter DeBoer called the play special.
”Guys are remembered for certain goals,” DeBoer said. ”Niedermayer for the goal against Detroit in the playoffs, going end to end. That’s vintage Niedermayer. That was vintage Parise, that goal.”
David Clarkson, Henrique, Ilya Kovalchuk, Petr Sykora and Patrik Elias also scored as the Devils won their third straight and snapped the Stars’ and rookie goaltender Richard Bachman’s three-game winning streak.
Ilya Kovalchuk netted the game winner at 12:12 of the second period, taking a drop pass from Parise and ripping it over the shoulder of the rookie goalie.
Kovalchuk heaped praise on his linemate.
”That’s the way it should be,” he said. ”He’s too good a player to not get his share of points. Especially with Travis (Zajac) back now, and we have some depth, we should be able to continue this.”
Johan Hedberg finished with 33 saves for the Devils, who’ve now won five of six.
Michael Ryder, Brendan Morrow and Toby Petersen scored for the Pacific Division-leading Stars, who went 3-2 on a road trip that covered 6,500 miles.
Niedermayer, who helped the Devils win the Stanley Cup in 1995, 2000 and 2003, became the third Devils player to have his number retired. He joined fellow defensemen Ken Daneyko and Scott Stevens.
Sykora, who played with Niedermayer on the Devils’ 2000 championship team, stretched the Devils’ lead to 4-2 late in the period by tapping the rebound of Cam Janssen’s shot out of the air and into the net.
Parise gave the Devils a three-goal lead in the third period, redirecting a perfect pass by rookie Adam Larsson past a defenseless Bachman.
Ryder gave the Stars a 1-0 lead by putting in the rebound of Loui Eriksson’s shot at 8:40 of the first period, but Clarkson tied it with a bad-angle shot from low in the left circle with less than five minutes left in the period.
Morrow put Dallas ahead again by capping a great tic-tac-toe play. He took a pass from Mike Ribeiro and put the puck into an open net.
Parise then changed the momentum with his steal and feed, and by the end of the night the crowd chanted ”Niedermayer.”
”I don’t know if it was anything that New Jersey did,” Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan said. ”We made some turnovers ourselves. They worked real hard, and it was obviously a special night for them. They worked hard, but we had some unforced errors, and that’s what cost us.”
NOTES: Devils D Henrik Tallinder was a late scratch because of back spasms. … Parise has assists in three straight games. … Stars C Tomas Vincour sat out after spraining a knee against the Islanders on Thursday. … Zajac played for the first time this season after missing 30 games because of an Achilles’ tendon injury sustained in the offseason. … The Devils plan to start G Martin Brodeur on Saturday in Montreal.