Wild winger Zach Parise senses the nerves.

He expects butterflies.

But the veteran also feels ready.

“I’m really excited to play,” he said. “I’ve had a really good last couple days of practice. I’m looking forward to it.”

 

 

Parise will make his long-awaited return to the Wild lineup Tuesday against the Panthers, his first game of the season after missing the first 39 with a herniated disc and subsequent back surgery.

The Wild activated Parise off long-term injured reserve and assigned winger Zack Mitchell to the American Hockey League.

“Hopefully it's an excitement both in the crowd and for our guys,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It's always good. At the same time, coaches worry about it because now people think, 'OK. Zach is back. We're going to leave it all up to him.'

“ … It's something that we're happy he's here. We're happy he's playing, but we've got to do our job as well.”

It wasn’t that long ago that the Wild faced the Panthers, going down 4-2. The Wild did, however, lead that game 2-1 after two periods.

“We were playing pretty solid, and then we take too many penalties and end up in the box and don't have the energy to come back,” Boudreau said. “It's something we've addressed on a daily basis right now. We gave them life and as soon as they got it, they haven't lost since that time. It's going to be a tough go tonight.”

Projected lineup:

Joel Eriksson Ek-Mikko Koivu-Mikael Granlund

Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Tyler Ennis

Zach Parise-Charlie Coyle-Chris Stewart

Marcus Foligno-Matt Cullen-Daniel Winnik

Ryan Suter- Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba

Gustav Olofsson-Nate Prosser

Devan Dubnyk

Key numbers:

39: Games missed so far this season by Parise.

.930: Save percentage for goalie Devan Dubnyk since Nov.9.

99: Career points for defenseman Matt Dumba

0: Regulation wins for the Panthers at Xcel Energy Center.

4: Power-play goals allowed by the Panthers over their last 18 games.

About the Panthers:

All the Panthers have done since getting by the Wild 4-2 Dec. 22 is win. Florida is in the midst of a season-high five-game win streak. Most recently, the team blanked the Canadiens 2-0 Saturday. During this run, winger Jonathan Huberdeau has scored four goals. Overall, Florida has scored 13 goals while giving up six. 

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Wild places Mitchell on waivers with Parise ready to return

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Postgame: Lineup decision looming for Boudreau after Wild's impressive win over Panthers