The Minnesota Wild have to play at least two games without their superstar sniper Zach Parise. The 31-year-old sustained a lower-body injury against the Nashville Predators on November 5.
Parise was hit by Predator's forward James Neal along the boards during his second shift of the game. Neal flew full speed into the hit and his knee made contact with Parise's legs. Parise flew head first into the boards and crumpled onto the ice.
The veteran sniper limped off the ice and onto the bench where he was tended by the Wild's medical staff. Parise played five more shifts during the first period, but he did not return after the first intermission.
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The Minnesota Wild will have plenty of line juggling to do in order to make up for Parise's absence. The Wild have moved Charlie Coyle to the first line and moved Jason Pominville to the left wing, in Parise's regular spot. However, the Wild's most productive line of Jason Zucker, Mikko Koivu, and Nino Niederreiter remains the same.
The Wild will also have to rely on the third and fourth lines to step up their production to make up for the lost firepower of Parise. This means that players like Thomas Vanek, Chris Porter, Erik Haula, and Ryan Carter will have to play more aggressively until Parise returns.
Zach Parise was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 2003 and he has been producing over 56 points per season for his entire NHL career. The talented winger was traded to the Minnesota Wild during the summer of 2012, and his impact was instantaneous.
Although the veteran is not likely to produce over 80 points like he did during his prime in the 2008-2009 and the 2009-2010 seasons, Parise will definitely average around 60 points this year. It will be a devastating blow to any team to lose a player like Parise's caliber.
Hopefully Parise can make a fast recovery, but the Wild will have to try to maintain or improve their record in his absence. The Minnesota Wild will play the Winnipeg Jets on November 10.
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