RALEIGH, N.C. – The Wild’s manpower took a hit on its now-complete two-game road trip through the Eastern Conference, and it’s unclear if the team will get healthier before facing the Predators at home on Monday.
Winger Zach Parise didn’t play in the 5-1 loss to the Hurricanes Saturday due to a lower-body injury that coach Bruce Boudreau hopes isn’t a long-term issue. Parise leads the Wild in goals (26) and points (58).
“Until we get home and see our doctors, I don’t really know,” Boudreau said.
Parise was clipped by Capitals winger Tom Wilson Friday, falling to the ice and gingerly making his way to the Wild bench after the contact. But he remained in the game, even setting up the decisive goal in the 2-1 Wild victory.
“It shows his character,” Boudreau said. “After he got hit, then he gets the assist on the winning goal. That says something.”
Although Parise’s absence was felt Saturday, with the Wild struggling to generate sustained offensive-zone time, it didn’t do itself any favors when it did have the puck.
Carolina feasted on turnovers, using those swings to pile on the pressure.
“Obviously, we made some pretty fatal errors,” center Eric Staal said. “… I just think we, at times, made it a little too easy for them. We made mistakes that cost you.”
The evening was particularly tough for the Wild’s third pairing, as defensemen Anthony Bitetto and Greg Pateryn each finished a minus-3.
“They struggled,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “There's no doubt that they struggled. They haven't played too much together. Hopefully it was just an anomaly. There were some unforced errors out there. If we want to have any hope, we can't have unforced errors at this stage in the season.”
The weekend wasn’t a complete wash for the Wild, though, as it did snag two vital points from that win over the defending Stanley Cup champs.
But not using that performance as a springboard seems like a missed opportunity, especially since the Wild would have regained control of the second wild card spot in the Western Conference with a victory Saturday.
Instead, it’s back on the other side of the playoff divider.
“We need more than two out of four [points] right now to get in the playoffs,” defenseman Jared Spurgeon said. “So we can't be satisfied with that."