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Wild's Parise, Haula day-to-day with injuries

Forwards uncertain for Western Conference First Round Game 1 against Stars

by Dan Myers / Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild began preparations for the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Dallas Stars without forwards Zach Parise and Erik Haula on Sunday.

Parise was not on the ice and is considered day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, leaving his status for Game 1 in question. Parise did not practice Friday because of maintenance and was scratched for the 2-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday, a game that was meaningless in the standings.

Parise led the Wild with 25 goals in the regular season and was second with 53 points in 70 games. Lower-body injuries cost him eight games in November and one in December. Parise also missed two games in February with an upper-body injury. 

"Whatever players are playing, that's who we work with and that's how we prepare for the playoffs," interim coach John Torchetti said.

Jason Zucker took Parise's place on the first line with Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle against the Flames and was there again at practice Sunday. 

Haula also missed practice and is day-to-day because of an undisclosed injury. He has 14 goals and 20 assists in 76 games, and led the Wild with a plus-21 rating. He had nine goals and 12 assists in 27 games since Torchetti replaced Mike Yeo on Feb. 13. 

Video: OTT@MIN: Haula finishes Pominville's feed to tie game

Haula, along with Nino Niederreiter and Jason Pominville, have been routinely tasked with shutting down the opponent's top line, a role that could be critical against Dallas' Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, who could return from an Achilles injury.

Jordan Schroeder, a healthy scratch against the Flames, took Haula's place in drills and line rushes Sunday.

With Parise and Haula nursing injuries, wings Chris Porter and Ryan Carter appear to have earned places in the Game 1 lineup.

Video: MIN@OTT: Carter scores seconds after returning to ice

Porter was scratched in five of the Wild's final eight games, but Torchetti said they're at their best when they are playing a fast, physical game, which suits Porter well. Carter, who plays a similar style, missed nine games down the stretch with an upper-body injury but returned against the Flames.

"I really liked our team against Washington [on Feb. 26] and I really liked our team against [the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 25]," Torchetti said. "[Porter and Carter] were in both of them. We need that physicality."

Porter skated on the second line in practice but would slide to the fourth line if Parise plays. Carter, a natural left wing, would move to the right side in that scenario. Jarret Stoll, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Los Angeles Kings, would likely center the line.

Forward Thomas Vanek, who hasn't played since April 1, will miss the start of the playoffs with an upper-body injury.

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