Zach Parise is worth every penny, isn't he? His hat trick in the third period helped lift the Wild in the season opener as they beat the Avalanche 5-4.
It didn't start well for the Wild. After Parise hit the post on a breakaway, the Avalanche took advantage of two power plays in the first period to storm out to a 3-0 lead after one. Jerome Iginla continued his prowess against the Wild after hist goal. Erik Johnson, fresh off a new 7-year $42 million deal, scored from the point off a slap shot that beat Devan Dubnyk. Gabriel "I'm like punching people in the back of the head" Landeskog scored when the puck caromed out front after a wide hot bounced off the end boards.
The second period saw some positivity from the Wild as Parise scored his first goal - and it a was a sweet one - when the Avalanche turned the puck over in their end. Mikael Granlund fed a pass to the slot where Parise was open and ripped a shot over Semyon Varlamov's glove. John Mitchell answered right back 1:12 later to regain the three goal lead. After a late power play ended up fruitless, the Wild headed to the locker room still down three goals.
Parise took a hard check but got back up and into position for a rebound and notched his second goal of the game. Jason Pominville and Matt Dumba got credit for the assists on the goal, and the comeback was on. Nino Niederreiter and Jason Zucker hooked up for a goal when they Zucker worked the puck into the zone from the left wing and Nino found the puck out front to beat Varlamov. Nino would miss a check and fall awkwardly into the boards and not be seen for the rest of the game. Head Coach Mike Yeo didn't have an update on Nino following the game. Mikael Granlund connected with Thomas Vanek on a nice feed for the game-tying goal. Charlie Coyle got the second assist with an overall nice play into the zone and through the neutral zone. Then as the Wild received a late power play on a Landeskog interference call, Parise scored the third goal to complete the hat trick and the Wild's first lead of the game.
Patrick Roy pulled Varlamov with over 1:30 left, but the Wild stood tall as did Dubnyk, and the Wild prevailed on opening night. For Parise, it was just his third hat trick of his career. It also goes down as the fastest three goals scored by the Wild ever. All three goals were scored in a time span of 5:07. Outside of the Blackhawks, Every other Central Division team won on Thursday night.
Minnesota will next take on the St. Louis Blues on Saturday evening.
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