Welcome back, Zach Parise! The Wild's leading goal scorer all but forced himself into the line-up Tuesday night. Playing with what Michael Russo of The Athletic reported as a, "significant injury," after suffering a lower body injury from a controversial hit by Washington forward Tom Wilson, Parise led the way with two goals. Minnesota ended up with a 5-1 victory on home ice for just the 6th time since January 10th.
The Jets started netminder Eric Comrie, recently called up from the Manitoba Moose (AHL), and was his 5th career start. The Jets got the better of the early play, but the Wild cracked open the score sheet. Parise got the puck near the right offensive circle and backhanded a rebound from a Greg Pateryn shot high into the air. The young goaltender didn't know where the puck was and the vulcanized rubber trickled down his back and into the net.
Kinda reminds you of the goal a few seasons ago when the Jets shot the puck high off the glass and the carom was so hard that it bounced off Darcy Kuemper's back and in.
It didn't take long for the hobbled Parise to find the back of the net again. Parise sent the puck up to Eric Staal. Staal waved at the bouncing puck in the slot and in the same motion, took the defender with him. Parise pounced on the loose puck and wrinkled the twine.
Minnesota had to feel good about taking advantage of the inexperienced goalie in net for the other team. Hell, a two goal lead on home ice is practically a miracle. Then a real miracle happened. Victor Rask crossed the blue near the left dasher. Getting forced to the outside and with teammates heading to the net, Rask shot the puck short side and the puck squeaked through Comrie for a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The second period offered a tiny push by the Jets with the Wild playing a bit more conservatively. The youth line featuring Joel Eriksson Ek and Luke Kunin got on the board. Kunin found Eriksson Ek open on the left wing and sent him a pass. Eriksson Ek let go a snipe that tucked the puck just underneath the crossbar. It's Eriksson Ek's 7th of the season. Next year will need to see more offense from him, but he really has become a solid player in his own right.
The Jets' Jacob Trouba got Winnipeg on the board with a short handed goal. He's got 48 points on the season. Still think Dumba surpasses that mark if he was healthy. He had 22 points before going down with an injury.
The "what ifs" this season could make a person go crazy.
Marcus Foligno eventually trickled a shot through the five hole through Comrie to extend Minnesota's lead to 4.
The win was a big win. Only... It wouldn't matter. As the final minutes ticked off clock in St. Paul, the Avalanche scored four unanswered goals in the second period to erase a 2-0 deficit. Colorado added two more goals in the third period. The Colorado win has eliminated the Wild from playoff contention. The streak of six seasons in the playoffs has been snapped.
The win was great. The fact that the season is ultimately over with just two games to go is frustrating.
Wild win, but it's not enough and they're out.