Parise, Zuccarello return for Wild in rematch vs. Avs; Bjugstad out

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Sarah McLellan, Star Tribune
·2 min read
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The Wild will wrap up its regular season series with the Avalanche on Wednesday night at Xcel Energy Center with a more veteran lineup.

Zach Parise is returning after going into the NHL's COVID protocols on March 24 and ultimately sitting out seven games, and Mats Zuccarello is also back after missing the last two games with a lower-body injury.

"I'm excited to play again," Parise said. "I've said it before, it's never overly enjoyable to sit and watch your team play and watch your teammates and not be able to travel with them. I'm looking forward to playing again."

Nick Bjugstad will not suit up for the Wild. He's out with an upper-body injury after leaving Monday's 5-4 loss to Colorado in the third period following a fight with Kyle Burroughs.

That third period was when the Wild was at its best Monday vs. the Avalanche, its comeback barely falling short.

Bringing that intensity from the drop of the puck will be the team's focus in the rematch.

"We didn't play our game," coach Dean Evason said. "Yes, we were up 1-0, but they still had a lot of the play. We didn't get pucks into their zone and play our game. We weren't finishing our checks as much as we normally do. We were off a little bit. It kind of rolled into the second period. We got set back on our heels after [Nathan] MacKinnon's goal … and then we just kind of had a little lull there and they pounced on us and scored another quickly and we were set back onto our heels and we never got back on our toes until late in the third period.

So, it has to be right from the start."

Projected lineup:

Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Kirill Kaprizov

Kevin Fiala-Victor Rask-Nick Bonino

Marcus Johansson-Ryan Hartman-Mats Zuccarello

Zach Parise-Luke Johnson-Kyle Rau

Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba

Carson Soucy-Ian Cole

Cam Talbot

Key numbers:

2: Power play goals Monday by the Wild.

2-5: Record for the Wild vs. the Avalanche this season.

199: Career assists for Parise with the Wild.

3: Points last game for center Ryan Hartman.

6: Points for captain Jared Spurgeon in his last eight games.

About the Avalanche:

Colorado has won five in a row and is on an NHL-best 15-game point streak. The last time the Avalanche lost in regulation was March 8. During its point streak, Colorado has outscored its opponents 67-28. This is the second longest point streak in franchise history. The Avalanche is 6-1-1 in its last eight on the road.