NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Zach Parise fought to stay positive while the frustration rose during a 12-game goal-scoring drought.
Parise finally broke out Monday night, getting two goals to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers.
Parise, who led the Devils with a career-high 45 goals last season, snapped the slump to help New Jersey win for the 10th time in the past 12 games.
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“It’s a funny game like that,” Parise said. “You go through spurts where everything you touch goes in and sometimes it’s the opposite. It was important to try and keep a positive attitude while it wasn’t going in.”
Colin White also had a goal while Niclas Bergfors added a pair of assists. Martin Brodeur made 24 saves for his league-leading 24th win.
Ilya Kovalchuk and Marty Reasoner scored for the Thrashers, who dropped their fifth straight game.
Kovalchuk opened the scoring at 9:46 of the first on a blast from the left circle over Brodeur’s left shoulder. Kovalchuk’s team-leading 23rd goal extended his point-scoring streak to 10 games.
Exactly one minute later, Parise evened the score for New Jersey by knocking home his own rebound.
“It definitely felt good for something to finally go in, and to remember what it felt like to score a goal,” Parise said.
White then put New Jersey ahead 2-1 at 16:34 with a shot from the left point through a maze of players past a badly screened Johan Hedberg.
It stayed that way until Parise connected again with a power-play goal 59 seconds into the third. Taking a cross-ice pass from Patrik Elias, Parise notched his team-leading 17th goal.
The Thrashers kept up their effort and were rewarded when Reasoner, set up by a two-zone rush by Pavel Kubina, beat Brodeur from the high slot at 7:28 to trim the lead to 3-2.
Kovalchuk tested Brodeur from the right circle with 3 minutes left and Atlanta pulled Hedberg for an extra attacker in the final minute. Brodeur fended off the final flurry, snaring a shot from Nik Antropov as he was knocked to the ice.
“It was a hard-fought game,” Devils head coach Jacques Lemaire said. “There was a lot of hitting and not a lot of room to play.”
For the Thrashers, a solid effort on the road turned into another loss. Four of the five losses in the slump have been by one goal.
“We have to get some wins,” Reasoner said. “You can’t take morale victories in the standings. It’s all about results.”
The answers, according to Thrashers coach John Anderson, lie within.
“The only people going to help us are ourselves,” he said. “We’re down and they’re going to keep coming at us until we figure out we’ve got to make simple plays and get the puck out of danger in our zone. We’ve got dig down and find out what’s in our hearts.”
NOTES: Atlanta last dropped five straight Nov. 26-Dec. 3, 2008. … RW David Clarkson returned for New Jersey after missing 13 games with a broken bone above the right ankle. With Clarkson activated from the injured reserve list on Monday, D Matthew Corrente was assigned to Lowell (AHL). … Brodeur, making his first appearance at the Prudential Center since setting the career shutout record (104), was loudly cheered when the starting lineups were announced, and again during a video tribute in a first-period stoppage. … Eric Boulton and the Devils’ Andrew Peters fought 1:57 into the game. Both got fighting majors; Peters was also given a game misconduct for not having his jersey tied down. Clarkson and Chris Thorburn had the second bout of the period at 13:45. … Gordie Howe attended the game.