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After going the distance against Florida in the opening round of the NHL playoffs and then taking quick care of Philadelphia in five games, the Devils and captain Zach Parise are ready for whoever may stand in their way next.
On Thursday, Parise gave coach Peter DeBoer a ton of credit for his sharp insights into both dispatched opponents. Parise said DeBoer’s main key to the Flyers series was anger management in the face of Philadelphia’s chippy tactics — something the high-powered Penguins weren’t able to control in the first round.
“Pittsburgh kind of lost their head a little bit (against Philly),” Parise told WFAN’s Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton. “We wouldn’t allow ourselves to do that and it paid off. It worked for us.”
LISTEN: Parise with Boomer & Carton
Speaking of credit, how about the job 40-year-old Martin Brodeur has done between the pipes?
“I don’t know if there’s much left to say,” said the much-younger (27) Parise. “It’s unbelievable what he’s doing, what he’s done, and we’re real fortunate to have him. … There’s no one better at handling the puck than him and it’s frustrating, it’s frustrating for another team when you can’t get in on the forecheck. And that’s one of Philly’s strengths and we took it away from them.”
With their ticket to the Eastern Conference finals already punched, the Devils await the winner of Rangers-Capitals. New York lost their first opportunity Wednesday night to set up the latest high-stakes installment of the Hudson River rivalry.
The Rangers and Washington now face a winner-take-all Game 7 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
“I don’t even know if I’m gonna be able to watch that game,” Parise said. “I was a little nervous watching that game last night, so I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to watch Game 7.”
No matter who the next opponent is, Parise knows the crowd at Newark’s Prudential Center will bring the energy.
“They’ve been unbelievable,” he said of the Rock’s home fans. “Especially in this series, but even the first round, it’s been loud in there. Everyone’s enjoying it and appreciating it and understanding what we’ve got going on.
“I’ve never seen it like this. It’s great and I think a lot of people around New Jersey are really — I don’t want to say hopping on the bandwagon, but they’re coming along with us and it’s a lot of fun.”
Devils fans, who do you want in the next round? Be heard in the comments below…