Parise to sit again for Wild
The Minnesota Wild will dress a lineup close to what they’ll use on opening night when they play their final preseason game against the Dallas Stars at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday – except for forward Zach Parise, who’s still dealing with a back problem.
Parise, 33, was held off the ice at the start of training camp and has taken part in a few practices, some of them on a limited basis. He has yet to play in a game.
Defenseman Ryan Suter, who’s played once in Minnesota’s first six preseason games, will be in the lineup.
The Wild open the season at the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV).
Hanzal ready to go for Stars
Stars center Martin Hanzal will play for the first and only time in the preseason against the Wild. Hanzal injured his ankle during a workout before training camp began and didn’t return to full practice until this week.
“Game speed is going to be huge,” Hanzal told the Stars website Friday.
He’ll be playing against the team that acquired him from the Arizona Coyotes on Feb. 26. Hanzal became an unrestricted free agent and signed a three-year, $14.25 million contract with the Stars on July 1.
“It’s going to be tough … it’s just one game and the season starts,” Hanzal added. “I’m really looking forward to playing in Minnesota and being part of the group.”
Ekman-Larsson not in lineup for Coyotes
Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson won’t play for the Arizona Coyotes when they visit the San Jose Sharks on Saturday because of an injury to his left knee.
Ekman-Larsson skated for part of practice on Friday but will miss his third straight game since being injured against the Sharks last Saturday. An evaluation on Sunday showed no structural damage.
“He needs a few more of those kind of practices, pushing and shoving,” coach Rick Tocchet said, according to azcentral.com. “So we’ll see how he goes.”
Goaltender Antti Raanta won’t play because of a lower-body injury, but Tocchet hopes he will be ready to play in the regular-season opener at the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday (10 p.m. ET; FS-A, NHL.TV).
“He’s getting close,” Tocchet said. “He’s another guy that’s right there.”
Trotz tells Capitals ‘Let’s go play’
The Washington Capitals have yet to get over the disappointment of falling short in the Stanley Cup Playoffs again last season and a summer of roster turnover that followed. Coach Barry Trotz believes that’s why the Capitals have struggled in the preseason; they are 1-5-0 and have scored eight goals entering their last game at the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.
“If you talk to players, it’s been a little bit harder to get the energy this year based on how it ended and the summer,” Trotz said Saturday. “So in some ways, in lack of another way to say it, we got stuck in last year’s energy or lack of at the end. It took a piece of us, and now we’ve got to dust ourselves off here and go ‘Hey, you know what? It’s for real. Let’s get going. We’re professional. Let’s quit with the self-pity and all that. Whatever’s holding us back, let’s go play because we can play.'”
The Capitals open the regular season against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; RDS2, TSN5, CSN-DC, NHL.TV).
The Capitals believed they had their best chance to win the Stanley Cup last season after winning the Presidents’ Trophy for the second season in a row, but they again lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Second Round. In the offseason, they lost defensemen Karl Alzner (signed with the Montreal Canadiens), Kevin Shattenkirk (signed with the New York Rangers) and Nate Schmidt (claimed by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL Expansion Draft) and forwards Justin Williams (signed with the Carolina Hurricanes) and Marcus Johansson (traded to the New Jersey Devils).
Through six preseason games, the Capitals have had trouble generating scoring chances while managing only three 5-on-5 goals. Trotz thought their effort was better in a 3-1 loss at the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday, though they were limited to 19 shots on goal.
— Tom Gulitti