Parise looking more and more like Parise
ST. PAUL--Zach Parise is starting to look more and more like Zach Parise -- a good sign for the Wild. Parise, a former University of North Dakota star player, has scored at least one point in eight of 10 games since mid-December, and he had five ...
ST. PAUL-Zach Parise is starting to look more and more like Zach Parise - a good sign for the Wild.
Parise, a former University of North Dakota star player, has scored at least one point in eight of 10 games since mid-December, and he had five points during the team's 2-0-1 road trip through San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim.
"Those were his best three games of the season," coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Though the uptick in scoring is a good sign, the way Parise has scored serves as a better indicator that the 32-year-old might be starting to feel more like himself.
"I feel better," he said. "That has been the biggest thing for me; I feel physically better. It was a tough game when I wasn't feeling too good. So, hopefully, everything has passed."
Parise missed six games early with a lower-body injury that appeared to hinder him long after he returned to the lineup. Two bouts with strep throat caused him to miss three more games, making it hard for him to find his rhythm. He has 20 points (8 goals, 12 assists) in 30 games.
"That's the way it goes," Parise said. "It's rare to go through a season and play at 100 percent. I think getting sick, more than anything, wore me down. I was tired all day long. I was in one game, then out two games. It was hard to get a rhythm. I feel like I'm over it. I feel way more energized."
That showed on the West Coast.
Parise scored three points against the Sharks, a third-period goal standing out above the rest. It came after he forechecked the heck out of the puck, saucered a pass to Nino Niederreiter, then crashed the net to pound in a rebound.
He was at it again against the Kings a couple of days later, netting a goal late in the third period to send the game into overtime. He fought off a shove near the crease, collected a feed from Eric Staal and whacked home his rebound.
Those goals were quintessential Zach Parise: finishing rebounds after outworking opponents, and they were a welcomed sight for his teammates.
"He has been real effective the last few games being around the net, making plays, hounding opposing players," Staal said. "And obviously he has the talent to put the puck in the back of the net when he gets those looks. ... He has had a lot the last few games. Those will start going in bunches."
Parise emphasized that the next step is continuing to build chemistry with Staal and whoever is playing next to them.
"It has been kind of musical chairs on the right wing," Parise said. "You want to get someone there that sticks so we can develop some familiarity."
Boudreau had Charlie Coyle was in that role in practice Tuesday afternoon as the Wild prepped for a tough week ahead with games against Montreal, Dallas and Chicago.
"I feel like the chemistry is there," Coyle said. "It will be nice to have a few practices to work on it and get a feel for it again. We know what we need to do to be successful."
Parise is the sparkplug for the bunch, so Boudreau is hopeful those five points on the West Coast serve as a launching pad.
"Those were very important points for him," the coach said. "If we can sustain him ... it makes our team an awful lot better."