It's a relatively short sample size, but there's no denying that the Minnesota Wild has improved since Zach Parise made his season debut on Jan. 2 – and all signs are pointing to a possible lengthy winning streak
Record since Parise's debut: 9-3-2, which totals 20 of a possible 28 points with Parise in uniform. Only Boston, Pittsburgh, Colorado and Winnipeg have more points since Parise debuted.
Goals per game since Parise's debut: 3.4, which is third in the NHL, trailing only Pittsburgh (3.8) and Boston (3.7). It's also worth pointing out that the Wild have tallied nine power play goals in their last nine games.
What's more is that Minnesota is getting scoring from everyone. In fact, Minnesota's defensemen lead the NHL with 127 points (31 goals and 96 assists).
Parise is simply a marker for the Wild's success, not necessarily the driving force. He only has 2 goals and 2 assists since returning, but Wild nation knows Parise's value comes beyond the numbers.
Time for the big streak?
Considering Bruce Boudreau is still the coach, a winning streak is about as likely as they come.
Last season, Boudreau led the Wild on a franchise record 12-game win streak, which ranks as the second-longest winning streak of his coaching career.
- 14 games, 2009-10 in Washington
- 12 games, 2016-17 in Minnesota
- 11 games, 2015-16 in Anaheim
- 10 games, 2013-14 in Anaheim
- 9 games, 2010-11 in Washington
- 8 games, 2013-14 in Anaheim and 2007-08 in Washington
The timing couldn't be better. Minnesota is in a dog fight for a playoff spot, so it's incredibly valuable to have seven of the final 10 games in February at home, including the first of five straight at Xcel Energy Center Thursday night against Arizona.
Entering play Wednesday, the Wild are still positioned as the second Wild Card in the Western Conference, and other teams, including the red-hot Colorado Avalanche, are right behind them.
That said, at fifth place in the Central Division, the Wild are still within striking distance (10 points) of first place Winnipeg – especially if Boudreau still has a big winning streak up his sleeve.