news broke out of St. Paul late Tuesday afternoon that Wild forward – and leading goal scorer for Minnesota in the 2017-18 playoffs – Zach Parise will miss approximately six-to-eight weeks as he recovers from a fractured sternum.
Although seemingly appearing alright following a ‘sandwich’ style hit from Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele and Ben Chiarot near the end of Sunday’s game three, the 5-foot-11, 195-pound left winger did indeed suffer a broken bone in his chest on that legal play.
Much scrutiny came following Tyler Myers’ lower body injury sustained in Sunday’s contest, as video footage appeared to show Wild forward Marcus Foligno punch out Myers’ leg as he was trying to regain his balance, causing a scary fall, and the removal of Myers from the Jets’ lineup.
The feelings of angst shared by many Jets fans may not have subsided, but now with one of Minnesota’s most accomplished players sidelined for the foreseeable future, the attention shifts to how the Wild will be able to respond without the presence of Zach Parise in somewhat of a do-or-die game.
This news comes at quite possibly the worst time for Minnesota as Parise has been arguably the best forward wearing red and green through three games of the opening round. With a goal in each game of the series, the Minneapolis native will certainly hope for a strong response from his running mates Tuesday.
Coming off a stellar performance at home, in which the Wild took advantage of a very tired/disoriented Jets squad, Minnesota will hope to scratch out yet another victory Tuesday night at Excel Energy Center, before hoping to do the unthinkable and upset the team with the best home record this past season back at Bell MTS Place Friday evening.
Tucker Poolman is expected to make his NHL playoffs debut on Tuesday, while the Jets went about adding some extra depth to their thin blueline by recalling all-star rookie defenceman Sami Niku from their farm club, Manitoba Moose. Niku also practiced with the team Tuesday afternoon.
Game four gets underway from St. Paul at 7:00 P.M. central time, and can be viewed live on Rogers Sportsnet. Game five will take place Friday in Winnipeg, while a potential sixth game would be played in Minnesota, if necessary.
By Carter Brooks
Photo by James Carey Lauder