Zach Parise scores. He even did it three times against the Blue Jackets Tuesday night to lead the Wild to a win in the last game of a long road trip. Minnesota kept the Blue Jackets at bay for most of the game and Mikael Granlund added an empty-net goal in the last 15 seconds of the game to regain the two-goal lead for the win.
The big story outside of Parise's hat trick was the loss of Mikko Koivu just 72 seconds into the game. After a collision in the corner with the Jackets' David Savard, Koivu left the ice and was taken to a local hospital. After the game, Head Coach Mike Yeo did not have an update on Koivu. Minnesota dictated the pace in the first period getting 10 shots on goal, but not many real glaring opportunities for both teams. In fact even the the Blue Jackets had fewer shots, they probably had better scoring chances. Then on a rush up ice with a delayed penalty on Columbus, Mikael Granlund entered the offensive zone with possession and found Parise on the left side. Parise pulled the puck to his forehand and just squeaked the puck inside the far post for the 1-0 lead with just over three minutes remaining in the period.
Cam Atkinson would tie the game just 3:08 into the second period when Scott Hartnell centered a pass to the crease for an easy tap-in. With the game evened up an both team playing 4-on-4, the puck rotated up to the point, Mikael Granlund found Parise breaking to the net with a beauty of a saucer pass and Parise pulled the puck to his forehand and slipped past Anton Forsberg for his second of the night. It was a nice play all-around. The vision, the saucer pass, and the drive to the net in open ice for Parise - the whole play - was just a thing of beauty.
Minnesota then locked it down defensively in the third period. The Blue Jackets tired to get back on the board and with the empty net, Parise completed the hat trick with back-hander from the neutral zone. Nick Foligno scored with 15.3 seconds left in the game to pull the game within one. On the ensuing face-off, Granlund didn't waste a second after winning the puck before sending it down the into the open net to make the score 4-2 and that would be the final.
Ryan Suter played a superb game with two assists and five shots on goal while playing 27:45 on the ice. Parise, nursing a bum knee, scored the hat trick and was on the ice for 21:29, leading all forwards in time on ice. Granlund had one goal and two assists in 20:38. After Koivu left, the Wild needed someone to step up in the face-off dots and Erik Haula's 67 percent (10-for-15) was huge.
The Wild now come back home to St. Paul to take on rookie sensation Shayne Gostisbehere and the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.