ST. PAUL, Minn. — Zach Parise played in the Stanley Cup Final in his final weeks as a member of the New Jersey Devils.
His team fell behind 3-0 in the series, then relaxed and won a pair of games before falling to the Los Angeles Kings in six.
With his Wild taking the first step in digging out of a 3-0 hole in their first-round series with the St. Louis Blues, Parise sees some parallels ahead of Game 5 on Saturday at Xcel Energy Center.
“Having been in that situation, it helps,” Parise said. “Going back to that, we lost the first two in OT at home. We could’ve been up two-zip as easy as we were down two-nothing, but they were tight games just like these have been tight games.
“Again, the focus is not on what happened, it’s on ‘OK, now we need to get ready to play the next game.’ You can’t dwell on what happened in Game 1, 2 or 3. We’ve got to play even better and better to try and make the series longer.”
The Wild are coming off their first game where they held a lead, and it lasted, as they beat St. Louis 2-0 in Game 4. As the Wild come back home down 3-1 in the series, their odds are still quite long, but there’s a better feeling now that they’ve at least pushed back.
“I think the attitude is fine,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said after practice on Friday. “I don’t know if tense is the right word, but I think they’re anxious to play again. This is only the third game in seven or eight days. So I think both teams are probably really anxious to get back at it.”
Blues forward Paul Stastny could hardly be any more anxious after missing a month with a foot injury. He had a full practice on Friday in Missouri before the Blues hopped on a northbound plane.
St. Louis coach Mike Yeo hinted that Stastny could be back in the lineup on Saturday afternoon.
“Getting a player back is always nice. It helps to stabilize things, it gives us a little bit more options, but at the same time, it’s not like getting a player back is just the answer and going to make things better for us,” Yeo said. “I think in a lot of ways, we’ve lost players and it’s sharpened our focus and guys have understood that they need to bear down and they need to do their jobs and do the little things and we need to make sure we continue to have that mindset. If we add a player like (Stastny) obviously then you become a better team.”
Like Minnesota, the Blues are taking the “win one game” approach, not thinking about closing out the series, just focused on playing better for 60 minutes.
The surprising Nashville Predators are on the horizon for whoever emerges from this series, whether it’s one, two or three games from now.