ST. LOUIS – Wild brass, players and fans will be holding their collective breath the next few days while it is determined just how serious of a foot injury Zach Parise sustained Monday night.
The Wild’s 3-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues became an afterthought once Parise limped out of the trainer’s room wearing only a dress sock on his left foot.
While going down to block a shot on a late first-period penalty kill, the Wild’s leading scorer was nailed on the instep by a one-time shot by Alex Steen. Parise fell to the ice in pain before struggling to the bench.
He was late to emerge in the second period, then fought through three shifts in the period before being lost for the rest of the game. Parise will be examined by team doctors Tuesday.
“You try not to get too worried about it until you find out what’s really wrong,” Parise said.
Coach Mike Yeo though seemed to be preparing for life for a while without Parise, saying, “When a guy like Zach gets hurt, it’s always concerning because he’s a top-notch player and brings an awful lot more than just scoring goals. But I do think we’re a deep enough team and have enough character that we should be able to battle through it. But certainly it’ll be a challenge.”
Yeo then interrupted himself to say, “Who knows with Zach?” and that the Wild must wait for results before it’ll know the prognosis and whether he can play Wednesday against Phoenix. The Wild has Tuesday off, so Parise’s status might not be known until Wednesday.
It was a frustrating night overall for Parise, who appeared to give the Wild a 1-0 lead 30 seconds into the game before the goal was erased by Frederick L’Ecuyer. The referee ruled that Parise’s redirection of Ryan Suter’s point shot was scored with a high stick.
It was one of those situations where if L’Ecuyer ruled goal, it would have remained a goal. But because he determined Parise’s downward chop connected with the puck higher than the crossbar, the goal was disallowed when officials in the NHL’s video review room couldn’t find conclusive evidence to overturn his call.
To make matters worse, the Blues responded by taking a 1-0 lead 50 seconds later.
“To me it’s clear, it’s a good goal,” Yeo said. “Fair to say we probably came unraveled for a few minutes after that. … It’s bad enough we should be up 1-nothing and now all of a sudden we’re down 1-nothing.”
With Josh Harding back in Minnesota nursing a stiff hamstring, Niklas Backstrom got his second consecutive start. The veteran couldn’t handle Carlo Colaiacovo’s deflected shot and Vladimir Sobotka buried the rebound.
The Blues spent the rest of the first period having their way with the Wild in Minnesota’s end, outshooting the Wild 12-4 and taking a 2-0 lead on another point shot, then rebound goal by Steen. Wild players blamed it on the disallowed goal, saying they never overcame the frustration.
“We lost our composure and we didn’t stay as even-keeled as we would have liked,” forward Jason Pominville said.
While Blues coach Ken Hitchcock agreed the disallowed goal “could have had maybe a little difference in the game,” he also felt “the way we played in the first period, we were really going. Every part of our game was going.”
The Wild didn’t create much until the third, when it outshot St. Louis 12-1 (the one shot being Steen’s empty-net goal). Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves for the Blues, which improved to 11-1-2 at home and 8-0-3 in their past 11 at home against Minnesota.
Still, the only concern postgame was with Parise’s health.
“I think we all know how worried we are,” captain Mikko Koivu said. “Hope it’s not going to be bad.”