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Parise likely to return for Wild on Sunday

Forward has missed two games with upper-body injury

by Dan Myers / Correspondent

EDINA, Minn. -- Forward Zach Parise is expected to return to the lineup when the Minnesota Wild host the Florida Panthers at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; FS-F, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV).

Parise, who missed the past two games because of an upper-body injury, was injured against the New York Islanders on Tuesday. He returned to practice on Saturday and took line rushes with Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle.

"Felt good today," Parise said. "They're always tough [to miss games] especially right now with the spot we're in. This time of year, it's not fun missing games."

Parise confirmed his injury was not a concussion but declined to specify what kept him out of the lineup. He is tied for the team lead in goals (18) and his 36 points are fourth-most despite him missing 11 games.

"His speed, his tenaciousness, he's quick on the puck. He brings more speed to our lineup," Wild interim coach John Torchetti said. "He helps build our team speed back."

Minnesota will play its next two games at Xcel Energy Center, where it has lost nine-consecutive games. The Wild have lost their past three games since starting 4-0-0 under Torchetti.

"They're all important. Every game is a big game," Torchetti said. "I think we've played well the last couple of games. We didn't get the two points that we wanted but we can't let it affect us going into [the game Sunday]."

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