The Minnesota Wild play host to the Chicago Blackhawks tonight as top line left winger Zach Parise makes his return from a lower-body injury.
The status on Parise comes from the Star Tribune’s Kent Youngblood, who is covering the team for Wild beat writer Michael Russo while he is away for personal reasons.
Parise says he will play tonight
— Kent Youngblood (@BloodStrib) January 23, 2014
For now, it appears the USA Olympian will resume his role on the Wild’s top line–this time alongside 2010 first rounders Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter. That means Dany Heatley drops down to Niederreiter’s usual spot on the second line with Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville. Even without captain and No. 1 center Mikko Koivu, that’s a pretty impressive top-6 forward corps.
Parise hasn’t played in over a month–December 22nd, to be precise–but his 27 points in 37 games are still good enough for fourth in team scoring while his 15 goals are just four shy of Jason Pominville’s team leading 19. In the 14 games since he was taken out of the lineup, Minnesota has gone 7-7, but has also gone 7-3-0 in the last 10 games. With a “Murderer’s Row” of games featuring Chicago, the San Jose Sharks, the Anaheim Ducks–who have lost just one game in regulation at home–and the Colorado Avalanche, there’s no question the return of Parise is huge for Minnesota’s playoff hopes.
We’ll have more as the situation develops, and Scott will have the game preview up shortly.
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