LAS VEGAS – Wild forwards Zach Parise and Joel Eriksson Ek are considered game-time decisions Friday against the Golden Knights, but it looks like only one of the two will return.
Parise was on the ice late during the team’s morning skate, still working out inside T-Mobile Arena into the afternoon. Meanwhile, winger Matt Read came off early – a sign he could be the one to slot into the lineup in Parise’s absence.
Read cleared waivers Friday, but the Wild is planning to keep him around for now.
For Parise, this would be the third straight game he's missed due to a lower-body injury while Eriksson Ek sat out the previous seven with a lower-body injury.
“It’s never fun to be on the side and be out with an injury,” Eriksson Ek said. “But it’s going to be fun to play.”
This is a potentially season-defining game for the Wild.
With 79 points, the team is two behind Arizona and four shy of Colorado for the second wild card berth in the Western Conference. Those teams play against each other Friday, a matchup that guarantees at least one – perhaps two – of the teams the Wild is chasing will gain points.
“I just told them this morning that if I have to tell you anything, I have the wrong guys playing tonight," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "This is hockey. They know where we stand, what the situation is. The self-preparation going into this game, if I have to sit there in a morning talk and get you up for the game, we’re beat before we start. So I hope we’re ready to go.”
The Wild has had success against the Golden Knights in the past. It’s 4-0-1 all-time vs. Vegas.
“I really don’t know that there’s a special recipe,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “The one thing in this building, the crowd is so electrifying and there’s so many Minnesota people that come to this game and cheer it’s hard not to get into the game. So I think that was one of the reasons. Other than that, nothing incredibly special. We’ve played some of our best hockey.”
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Matt Read
Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Luke Kunin
Kevin Fiala-Victor Rask-Ryan Donato
Marcus Foligno-Eric Fehr-J.T. Brown
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Brad Hunt
Nick Seeler-Greg Pateryn
9-4-2: Record for the Wild in its last 15 road games.
.919: Save percentage for goalie Devan Dubnyk in his past 20 road starts.
8: Points for center Eric Stall in five career games vs. the Golden Knights.
15: Points for winger Ryan Donato since Feb.21 – tops among NHL rookies.
26:52: Average ice time for defenseman Ryan Suter, which leads the NHL.
About the Golden Knights:
Vegas occupies the third seed in the Pacific Division with 90 points, five behind San Jose for the second spot. The Golden Knights are coming off a 4-3 loss to the Avalanche on Wednesday, their third straight setback. Forwards Mark Stone and William Karlsson are the only two players on the same NHL team to have tallied at least 20 goals, 50 blocked shots and 60 takeaways. Overall, six Golden Knights have eclipsed the 20-goal plateau. Stone’s 71 points also pace the pack.