Imagine what the Wild would be doing to the competition if Zach Parise was scoring like history says he will.
In 38 games this season, Parise has 8 goals and 13 assists, but only four goals over his last 25 games. He had 12 multi-point games last season and only three so far this season. But nobody is making a fuss about it because he's still working his butt off and the Wild are in first place in the Western Conference.
“He’s struggled with the scoring, and he’ll be the first one to tell you that,” head coach Bruce Boudreau said Wednesday, “but he’s working really hard at his game, and we are where we are without him doing a lot of the scoring. I know that he’s going to catch fire at some point in the season, and when he does, it’s just going to make our team so much better.”
Even without Parise finding the net the Wild are fourth in the NHL in goals per game (3.3). That's largely because a bunch of guys are having career years.
- Jason Zucker has set a career high in points
- Nino Niederreiter is 11 points from a career high
- Mikael Granlund is 5 points from a career high
- Mikko Koivu is 8 goals from tying a career high
Not to mention Eric Staal looks like one of the best free-agent acquisitions of the offseason with 40 points in 47 games.
But it's not like Parise isn't making an impact on a nightly basis.
"He still plays his minutes and plays in all situations," Boudreau added. "He works so hard – his penalty killing has gotten really good lately and his work ethic is where it always is. He's a real valuable member of this team."
If Parise starts scoring goals, it's just one more reason to believe this is the year the Wild truly have a chance to win the Cup.