Ever since he lost in the Stanley Cup final with the New Jersey Devils in 2012, Zach Parise has been itching to get back there with his hometown Minnesota Wild.
There’s never any downtime at The Hockey News. Nope, not even during the summer. If anything, it’s our busiest time of the year, when we prepare our annual Yearbook and Poolbook publications, along with our regular issues.
We’re also putting together a kids book this year. It’ll have 30 chapters, one on each NHL team, each coming with a profile of an NHL star, his reflections on his first NHL game and his list of favorite things.
For Minnesota we’re featuring Zach Parise. No surprise, his favorite hockey memory is getting to the Stanley Cup final in 2012.
He’s playing like he wants to get back there in 2014.
Two years ago Parise had 15 points in 24 games as the then-captain of the New Jersey Devils led them to the Stanley Cup final. In 10 playoffs games so far in 2014 with the Minnesota Wild, including a goal and an assist Tuesday night against Chicago, he already has 13 points.
This is the reason why GM Chuck Fletcher gave him $98 million to lure him from New Jersey to Minnesota.
Not since 2008-09 have the Wild had a game-breaking player like Parise when they had an in-his-prime Marian Gaborik. And Parise comes with the added bonuses of leadership.
Minnesota will need every bit of both from him to get past Chicago, but so long as the Wild keep winning on home ice, as they did in their 4-0 win in Game 3 over the Blackhawks, they have a chance. Minnesota never led in games in its series against Colorado until its Game 7 overtime win. In that first-round series, the Wild spotted the Avalanche a 2-0 games lead on the road before taking care of business at home to even it up.
Minnesota is following a similar script against Chicago in the second round. So far the Wild are a perfect 4-0 at home. They’ll likely have to remain that way to have a chance at beating the Blackhawks and advancing to the Western Conference final, because if they lose one at home, taking Games 5 and 7 in Chicago is about as likely as Don Cherry kissing Matt Cooke.
Parise has eight points in four games at home. The Wild will need him to continue that sizzling home cooking to keep them in this series and give them a chance to win it.
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