Wild duo Parise and Vanek to miss first two games of Stars series


Forwards Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek will not travel with the Minnesota Wild for the first two games of their first-round playoff series with the Dallas Stars.

The news, which was announced by the Wild on Wednesday, leaves Minnesota facing an uphill battle in the race for the Stanley Cup.

Parise, Minnesota's leading scorer this season with 25 goals, has not skated with the Wild since their loss to the San Jose Sharks on April 5 and is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury.

Meanwhile, Vanek is week-to-week with a similar issue. He had missed the Wild's loss to the Ottawa Senators on March 31 before returning to the lineup against the Detroit Red Wings on April 1, but has not skated with the team since. 

Vanek ranked among the Minnesota's top scorers after logging 18 goals this season.

To make matters worse, the Wild could also be without center Erik Haula. His availability for game one is in doubt, as he is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

The Wild, who lost their final five games of the regular season, will need all the help they can get when they face off against the Central Division champion Stars in a series that starts on Thursday.

Although no timetable was given for Parise and Vanek, the Wild will eagerly await their anticipated return.