Wild winger Zach Parise had to wait more than five months to get back in game action after he was knocked out of the playoffs last season with a fractured sternum.
But Parise had no problem picking up exactly where he left off, scoring the Wild’s lone goal in his preseason debut Thursday – a 3-1 loss to the Stars at Xcel Energy Center.
“It's always a little rewarding to score,” Parise said. “You're always hungry to score.”
Back in his familiar spot on captain Mikko Koivu’s flank, Parise deflected a Koivu shot from the slot 14 minutes, 44 seconds into the second period to tie it at 1.
Dating back to 2017-18, it was the fourth straight game he’s scored since Parise tallied a goal in each of the first three games of that 4-1 series loss to the Jets before he was injured late in Game 3 after getting sandwiched between two Jets players.
Go back even further, and the 34-year-old has buried eight goals in his past eight appearances – this after he missed the first half of 2017-18 as he recovered from back surgery that fixed a herniated disc causing leg pain and weakness.
“You want to get in those habits early of getting to the net and getting goals from around the crease,” Parise said. “That's how we ended up getting our one tonight.”
Dallas defenseman Miro Heiskanen opened the scoring at 5:31 of the first on a point shot, and center Justin Dowling’s redirect at 15:54 of the third broke the tie before a Radek Faksa empty-netter at 19:32 to seal a 0-3 start for the Wild in exhibition play.
Goalie Devan Dubnyk made 20 saves. Stars netminders Anton Khudobin and Colton Point combined for 26 stops.
“We’re giving everybody a good chance to play so far,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We’ll start getting a little more serious as the next week rolls along.”