This last week was a big week for Zach Parise. It was capped off today with the announcement from the NHL that he was named the 1st Star in this week’s Three Stars of the Week. Parise tallied five goals in two games including his fifth career hat trick, and added two assists for a league best seven points on the week. It was just what the doctor ordered for the Minnesota Wild as they surged to a five-point lead in the race for the final Western Conference Wild Card spot.
For Parise, last week’s performance was the product of many games of hard work that didn’t quite see the puck make it to the back of the net. Until last Thursday’s tilt against the Flames, Parise had only recorded one goal (an empty netter) since the 15th of February. His low goal total was not a result of a lack of trying as Parise tallied 37 shots in 17 games. For some reason he couldn’t convert those shots to goals.
Wild Coach John Torchetti, an excellent judge of player effort, knew that Parise was doing what he needed to do to score…it just wasn’t happening. That’s why he continued to play Parise on the top line knowing that his hard play would eventually lead to some production on the scoresheet. Torch himself said it best when he explained his confidence in Parise after Saturday’s game “That’s what I expect every night. That’s what he’s all about. He’s our best competitor.”
Torch on Parise: "That’s what I expect every night. That’s what he’s all about. He’s our best competitor." #mnwild
— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) March 26, 2016
Additionally, when you look at this season for Parise you still see a very strong season despite the 17 game slump. His hat trick against the Flames was his third of the season and his five goals this week catapulted him back into the team goal lead with 24 on the season. With six games left its conceivable that he gets close to, hits, or possibly exceeds the 30 goal mark.
No doubt this week was a special one for the Wild and Parise. The odds that Parise will keep this scoring pace up may be low, but the probability that he continues to contribute will be huge. Regardless if the Wild make the playoffs, which it looks like they might, everyone will look back at this week and know it was a crucial moment in their season. Most of all everyone will look back and remember it was Zach Parise who had a monster week and led the team in this defining week.
Danny Lambert has been covering the Minnesota Wild for some time now, and is back again as contributor to THW staff. A native Minnesotan he’s always had his eye on the State of Hockey and is proud to write and represent such a great market and fans. Follow him on Twitter at @dannylambert17