ST. PAUL -- If it was up to Zach Parise, he’d probably have been in the lineup for Monday’s game against the Nashville Predators. But it’s not. It’s not up to coach Bruce Boudreau, either.
“I’m not the doctor,” Boudreau said. “Whatever the trainer and doctor are saying he has to do is what he has to do.”
The Wild’s star wing is well aware of where the Wild sit in the Western Conference standings, currently two points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the final playoff spot, and he knows that each of the Wild’s last six regular-season games is essentially a must-win if the Wild are to make it seven straight postseason appearances.
Parise's lower-body injury is the same injury that kept him out of Saturday’s 5-1 loss to the Hurricanes Saturday in Carolina.
“He’s getting better,” Boudreau said after last Tuesday’s skate. “We are hoping that if all goes well, he’ll be back sooner than later.”
Maybe by this weekend, when the Wild play at Vegas on Friday and Arizona on Sunday?
“We are hoping,” Boudreau said. “I’d say right now it’s just hope.”
Parise was injured after being clipped by winger Tom Wilson on a play in the defensive zone during Friday’s game against the Capitals in Washington. He finished the game, earning an assist on the game-winning goal.
“It shows his character,” Boudreau said. “After he got hit, then he gets the assist on the game-winning goal. That says something.”
With the Wild already clinging to a playoff spot, the absence of Parise certainly doesn’t help matters. He has a team-high 26 goals to go along with a team-high 59 points this season.
“We are not a high-scoring team, and take out our one guy with 26 goals it makes it a little more difficult,” Boudreau said. “You have to win the low-scoring games; it’s as simple as that. You can’t play a run-and-gun game against a high-offensive team.”
Eriksson Ek Skates
Joel Eriksson Ek skated with the team for the first time in nearly two weeks but wasn't scheduled to play in Monday’s game against the Predators. He is still nursing a lower-body injury.
Not that Boudreau didn’t think about putting him in there.
“He looked great,” he said. “It’s tough to throw them back in and then we have three (off) days for him to skate this week. Hopefully by (Friday in Las Vegas) he’s ready to play.”