Wild Breakaway: Parise was Minnesota’s best player in Colorado

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On the first Wild Breakaway of the 2018-19 season, analyst Wes Walz was impressed with forward Zach Parise after his performance in Colorado.

AUDRA MARTIN: Welcome to "Wild Breakaway" with Wes Walz. I'm Audra Martin. The Minnesota Wild opening up their season tonight on the road against the Colorado Avalanche, who closed out last season as one of the hottest teams on home ice. Tonight, they seem to pick up right where they left off.

The Wild really just can't-- not able to keep up with them tonight. We know all about their speed and their offense that they bring to the table. One good sign for the Wild, though-- Zach Parise healthy. Zach Parise having an immediate impact with--

- Yeah, he was outstanding. He was the Wild's best player tonight. But anytime you're playing the Colorado Avalanche-- not so much at the Xcel Energy Center, but when they're playing them in Denver, you better be ready to skate because they've got a great skating team. We knew going into the game they had probably one of the fastest teams in the Western Conference and really did take the play to the Minnesota Wild. Was just a step ahead of them all over the ice in the first and second period.

Devan Dubnyk, Audra, was a big reason early in the first and second period, why the Minnesota Wild were even within a goal. Bruce Boudreau juggled his lines in the third period, and it kind of sparked the club. And it was the best period that they played, and just were not able to get that equalizer tonight to get the game to overtime. But as you mentioned, Zach Parise-- four shots on that, was the Wild's best player. Devon Dubnyk was outstanding, and hopefully, the Wild can get their first win of the season Saturday night.

- Unfortunately, this season starts with a 4-1 loss. Here's a look at the rest of your final stats. It was a slow start for the Wild, just five shots on net that first period. They lose that battle 40-21.

So obviously, a busy night between the pipes for Devan Dubnyk. The Wild three chances on the power play, but they don't have anything to show for it on the man advantage. So what does Bruce Boudreau have to say about his team's efforts? This is what he had to say after the game.

- We had our opportunities in the third. We missed open nets and shot the puck wide, but we hung in there until the-- until the third. I mean, I thought they had the better opportunities in the first and second period. But Duby was really good tonight, and he kept us in. And when you keep a team in, you know, usually you find a way to score one, and then that's-- but unfortunately, they got the two empty netters.

- So now, the Wild will look ahead to get back in the win column in front of their home fans. The home opener Saturday night, and it comes against last year's big surprise of the season, and that was the Vegas Golden Knights. They have a whole lot of expectations surrounding that team this year, and hopefully, the Minnesota Wild can bring them back down to Earth a little bit there in the home opener.

- Well, their goal is just to prove to everybody that last year wasn't a fluke. I mean, they've been proving everybody wrong, including me. I mean, after the first month, I remember saying that this cannot continue. They're an expansion team. They can't continue to do this. Well, they did it all through the season, proved everybody wrong, and then not only during the regular season, they went on to the playoffs and were unbelievable, outstanding. So it's-- it was an amazing story.

Some good news for the Minnesota Wild. Nate Schmidt, who I thought was the best defenseman throughout the playoffs for the Vegas Golden Knights, is out of the lineup for the first, I believe, it's 20-- he got suspended for 20 games for violating the substance abuse program. So not that disappointed. I like Nate, but I'm not that disappointed he's out of the lineup.

The Minnesota Wild don't have to see him, and you know, they're out to prove to everybody that wasn't a fluke. And if the first game of the season is any indication, it might be a tough year because they're getting blasted at home tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. So Saturday night, nothing better than Saturday Night Hockey in St. Paul, and the fact that it's the Minnesota while home opener, where we've had a ton of success, our first game at home over the years, hopefully that trend continues Saturday night.

- And it was the Wild to take all three games this season against Vegas. We'll see if they can make it four in a row, that home opener on Saturday. We look forward to seeing you then at 6 o'clock. For Wes Walz and Audra Martin, thanks for joining us tonight on "Wild Breakaway."