Zach Parise critical of Wild after loss to Colorado

Zach Parise returned earlier than expected, but the Wild still endured a loss Friday.

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Zach Parise was returning early from a left-foot contusion to give the Minnesota Wild a boost when they hosted the Colorado Avalanche on Friday.

After Minnesota allowed the first goal for the sixth consecutive game and trailed 2-0 for the second straight game, Parise and the rest of the Wild weren't in the kind of mood to talk about his return. Friday's 3-1 loss, the third straight for Minnesota, stung.

"Played a soft hockey game," Parise said. "We cheat. We turn the puck over. And once we started doing it right in the third period, we started getting some chances. But we turn it over, we turn away from everybody, we make it pretty easy for them, and that slows us down. All of a sudden, we can't get any speed generated because we keep backchecking."

The script was similar to Wednesday night against Phoenix. A center was lost early -- this time Zenon Konopka left after four shifts because he was hit in the eye by a puck. The Wild allowed the first two goals before battling back and trying to pull off a comeback.

Dany Heatley scored to make it a 2-1 game and the Colorado added an empty-net goal. The same circumstances which sunk Minnesota against Phoenix.

"It seems to take us a 2-0 deficit right now to find the urgency level to be effective in the game, which is part of it," coach Mike Yeo said. "But there's other things on top of it, too. We seem to think that we're pretty good and we don't need to do some of the things that brought us success, some of the things that we need to do to be successful. Hopefully we're taking a lesson, we're taking notes."

Colorado was outshooting the Wild 15-6 at one point. Minnesota got one shot on a 5-minute power-play after Avalanche forward Cody McLeod rode Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin into the boards. McLeod received a game misconduct.

Minnesota has scored on three of its last 27 power-play opportunities.

"Right now I think we look slow and deliberate with everything we do," Yeo said of the power-play. "The way that we bring the puck up the ice, the way that we play in the zone. We get zone time and we can be in there for a minute and we get one shot and just kind of move it around slowly. We don't attack. We don't have an attack mentality right now and we have to change that."

Again, Minnesota changed its fortune in the second half of the game on Friday. The Wild outshot Colorado 25-6 to end the game, including a 16-5 mark in the third period. It wasn't enough. Minnesota pressured all of the third period, but Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 27 saves for the Avalance.

Parise said the Wild need to change if they want to return to the success they had in earning points in winning 10 of 12 games at the start of November.

"We stop cheating," Parise said. "We're just making not-intelligent plays. Like I said, we turn away from guys on the forecheck. In the neutral zone, we're turning away from people. We let them skate up through us when we turn it over. Like I said, once we finally started to get it behind their defense, we spent the majority of the third period in their zone. That's the way we got to play. Until we start doing that on a regular basis, we're going to keep playing games like that and we're not going to generate much."

The mistakes have started to filter in as Minnesota has lost three of the past five games and been outscored 9-2 in the three-game losing streak.

"I think it's crept in a little bit if you want to use that word," Heatley said of Parise's comments. "I think we've had some nights where we haven't been as hard on the puck and as honest a team as other nights, and out goalies have bailed us out. Eventually that's going to catch up with you."

Defenseman Ryan Suter says the lull can come with handling success.

"I think we've had slow starts and there's no reason for it, no particular reason," Suter said. "I think it's just when you're winning things, you tend to forget about the little things. I think that's what's happened lately. We've had success and sometimes when you have success, you forget about the details of the game. Tonight, the start of the game we didn't work hard and we just weren't very detailed."

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