08:37 AM ET 03.23 | Despite the Devils recent slide that has all but ended a Cinderella story, Zach Parise may be returning to give the team a lift. It's three weeks today since Parise was given three to four weeks before resuming practice, and the informed expectation is that he will seek medical clearance this week to rejoin the Devils. If so, a return to the lineup might be possible late next week. But there appears little need to risk or rush now, not after the Devils lost to the Bruins 4-1 Tuesday night to fall nine points out of a playoff berth with nine games left. What initially was forecast by the Devils to be a three-month recovery from right knee cartilage repair likely will reach five months before Parise plays for the first time since Oct. 30, when John MacLean was coaching the 12th game of his 33, and the Devils fell to 3-8-1.