Photo - Hannah Foslien (Getty Images)
By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
St. Paul, MN - Through the first four games of the Minnesota Wild's 2014 Stanley Cup playoff run, one of Chuck Fletcher's $98 million men and the team's second leading scorer in the regular season had yet to tally a single goal. While each of those four tilts went the way of the home teams, the Wild were doing so without an impact from their star player.
Zach Parise with assists in each of those first four games, Parise got on the board with his first goal Saturday in Colorado as the Wild dropped another stunner in overtime. That was of course before Zach broke the door wide open in game six.
Heading into Monday night's game, Colorado's young star Nathan MacKinnon was leading the series and the entire Stanley Cup Playoff field with 10 points (2 goals, 8 assists) and the quickly rising star was getting ALL of the headlines.
Call it motivation, Parise took to the ice last night ready to tilt the attention away from MacKinnon and hoping to shift the series in favor of his Minnesota Wild and he didn't waste much time doing it.
Only :49 seconds into the first period of Game 6 Parise got the Wild on the board. Well, actually it was Parise's breezers that got the Wild on the board with their fastest playoff goal in franchise history (the goal was originally credited to Suter, upon inspection it was discovered to have ricocheted off Parise). Almost nine minutes later, Parise was at it again setting up Mikael Granlund on the far side for the Wild's second goal of the night.
A 5-on-3 short handed goal and a PP goal for Colorado later, the second period went pear shaped and the team's entered a very tense third period squared up at two.
With most of the arena sitting on their hands after feeling the momentum shift in favor of Chicago a period prior, Zach Parise took the game into his hands again and with one redirection from his stick blew the roof off of the Xcel Energy Center.
"I haven't heard a building that loud, that was incredible," Parise said during postgame. "They were incredible again...it keeps getting better. It's an awesome place to play, it's a great building."
Normally a guy who doesn't show his emotions outwardly after scoring goals, Parise exploded into celebration along with the rest of the 19,314 on hand!
It was just the build up I think of the situation, of the series, of the time of the game," Parise said of his uncharacteristic celebration. "When you finally get a good break, there's a lot of emotions going through your body. You just get so pumped and so excited you don't even know what you doing when you're celebrating you're just too excited."
But Zach wasn't done just yet.
With Semyon Varlamov on the bench, a situation that has proven dangerous for the Wild this series, Parise tallied the second assist on the Jason Pominville empty netter. Parise (2-2) netted the first 4-point night in franchise playoff history.
"I think as a group [the first line] got contributions whether it's on the score sheet or not on the score sheet," Parise said. "I know a lot of times people get focused on statistics and score sheets. But I think as a group we've all done what we've had to do to win games and give ourselves a chance. Guys have scored at different times and that's what we need to do to win."
As mentioned above, heading into game six, Nathan MacKinnon lead the playoffs with 10 points. After MacKinnon's minus three night, Parise is now atop the stats chart with 10-points of his own through the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
With Minnesota's magic man leading the way, the Minnesota Wild prepare to head back to Colorado where they will square off against the Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on Wednesday night at 8:30pm.
"Game seven's are awesome," Parise exclaimed. "Just the importance of every play, the atmosphere in the building, it's a lot of fun. It will be exciting for us to be a part of one."
"We didn't come here with the hope of winning a first round game. We came here with the hope of a lot bigger things. It was a good step tonight to give ourselves a chance with game 7...It's going to be fun. They're always nerve wracking but it's exciting."