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Zach Parise, Islanders renew acquaintances with Wild

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The Minnesota Wild and New York Islanders each will look for their second victory in as many nights when they meet on short rest Sunday in St. Paul.

Minnesota is coming off a roller-coaster win on the road against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night. The Wild tied the score with 2.2 seconds left in regulation and won it during the shootout round, with Nick Bjugstad notching the decisive goal.

It was the Wild’s seventh one-goal victory this season, which leads the NHL. Minnesota has tallied three goals in the final minute of regulation.

“You can’t do that forever,” Wild defenseman Matt Dumba said. “We’ve got to take control of our games. But to do this early in the season and know what kind of character we have in that room, guys are willing to go the full 60 minutes for each other and not quit or give up on each other.

“That’s a feeling we haven’t had around here for a long time. We’re not going to take that for granted. It’s something special, and we’re going to find our game and start rolling.”

Meanwhile, the Islanders will look to keep rolling after posting a 2-0 shutout win over the host Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night. Anders Lee and Brock Nelson each potted goals, and Ilya Sorokin made 24 saves to lock up his third shutout of the season.

The Islanders have earned at least one point in seven consecutive games. They are 5-0-2 and have outscored opponents 21-9 during that span.

Now comes a special reunion for Zach Parise, who joined the Islanders this season after spending the previous nine seasons in Minnesota. He recorded 199 goals and 201 assists for 400 points in 558 games with the Wild from 2012-2021.

Parise acknowledged that it will be an emotional return to Minnesota, but he said he had moved on from the Wild’s decision to buy out his contract.

“It’s been a long time,” said Parise, 37. “I love where I’m at. We’ve got a great hockey team here. It’s a really fun group of players to be around, and that’s just made the transition that much easier.”

Kirill Kaprizov is the Wild’s leading scorer with 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his first 10 games. Marcus Foligno ranks second with eight points (four goals, four assists), while Dumba is the top scoring blue-liner with seven points (one goal, six assists).

The Islanders are led in scoring by Nelson, who has nine points (seven goals, two assists) in nine games. Anthony Beauvillier is next with seven points (three goals, four assists), and Josh Bailey rounds out the top three with six points (one goal, five assists).

Parise said he was excited to return to a full arena in Minnesota, which like the rest of the league had crowd restrictions in place last season.

“It’s going to be great,” Parise said. “They have such a good fan base there, just loyal fans that love the team. It’s a fan base that was always great to me and my family when we were there.”

–Field Level Media

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