Parise's Hat Trick and Moose's Shutout Move Devils Deeper into the Playoffs

Robert TheodorsonSenior Analyst IMarch 3, 2012

A four-game losing streak was enough for captain Zach Parise, who took matters into his own hands Friday night and scored his second career hat trick. 

It only took Parise a few minutes into the second period to score his third goal of the night. 

Backup goalie Johan Hedberg took over for overworked starting netminder Martin Brodeur.

Due to the Capitals' porous play, Hedberg had to be just good enough to get his third shutout of the season. Hedberg provided a shakeup at goalie the team desperately needed as the Devils have secured the sixth seed in the playoffs for now, leaving the Caps in the dust to sit outside the bubble for yet another week.

The game was one of pure domination on the road for the Devils. The Capitals never really got their offense going and just when you thought a good pass from behind the net or across the slot was going to land on a forward's stick and get put into the net, the Caps wasted nearly all their opportunities. 

Michal Neuvirth was left in for all five goals—his play could only be described as pathetic. The defense was of little help to the struggling goalie. 

Ostracized veteran defenseman Roman Hamrlik was held out of the lineup again. Jeff Schultz took Hamrlik's place on Mike Green's defensive pairing.

Without Nicklas Backstrom, the top line struggled to get anything going. Centers Brooks Laich and Marcus Johansson were nearly invisible as none of the star players really stood out.

Hard-working fourth-liner Matt Hendricks had an exceptional game, and Jason Chimera put forth 100 percent effort to no avail.

The Devils continued their domination on the penalty kill with a two-on-one against Neuvirth. Dainius Zubrus, who had an absolutely amazing goal and assist, fed a one-timer to Patrik Elias to cap off the five-goal victory. 

Rookie center Adam Henrique marched on towards the Calder Trophy for the NHL's best rookie, potting two assists and putting himself three points over Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog.