ST. PAUL, Minn. -- With expectations of playoff berths amplified by a three-month work stoppage, Minnesota Wild fans were finally able to see newcomers Zach Parise and Ryan Suter in a setting other than a team scrimmage.
The delay was worth the wait.
Left Wing - MIN
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 2
SOG: 8 | +/-: -1
Parise nearly set up a goal on his first shift, then followed with two assists, setting up Dany Heatley on both of his second-period goals. He also led all forwards and was second on the team in ice time with over 23 minutes and had eight shots on goal.
"I love the fact that I'm going to get to be up here as many times as I'm going to be and talk about how good he is," said Wild coach Mike Yeo. "The skill level, the speed… but for a small guy, I see him hold off guys and protect the puck. He's so strong. His work ethic is just relentless.
"I love how he attacks the net."
Suter didn't tally a point in the game, but led all skaters with 27:05 in ice time.
"He's a horse, that's what he does," Yeo said. "At the end of the day, when you win a game with a guy who plays 27 minutes, that says a lot about what they did over the course of that game."
After a tough start, Minnesota picked up the pace in the second period. It started with the first line, led by Parise, getting pucks deep into the Avs' zone.
"Once were able to get the puck behind their D, they backed off a little bit," Parise said. "I think we learned it's okay to chip the puck in. We want to play crisp passes, but sometimes you have chip it in behind the D and that's what we did."
That zone time allowed the Wild power play to get things started, scoring twice in the second period on greasy goals. Both came off rebounds of shots from point-blank range.
Suter said nerves and opening night distractions may have played a part in the sluggish start, but he was pleased with how the team rebounded over the game's final 40 minutes.
"You never know how you're going to come out the first game," Suter said. "There was a lot of stuff going on, but it was good we were able to recover. We came out a little flat, but once we got it going we showed what we are capable of."