By Mike Max

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Given the startling injury news regarding the doubtful status of Zach Parise with back issues, the Minnesota Wild has become even bigger underdogs in their opening round playoff series.

The Wild starts the opening round of the Western Conference Playoffs Thursday night in Dallas.

One player they can look for Stanley Cup guidance is Jarret Stoll. He might not even be in the lineup, but as Mike Max reports, he’s been down these roads before and found a way to come out on top.

The Wild are preparing for what seems to be a more daunting task every day: Beating the Dallas Stars.

“They’ve got guys who can score and they have a lot of talent and skill. So you can’t take any time off against them,” Charlie Coyle said. “There’s going to be times where they are making a push.”

It’s not unprecedented for a No. 8 seed to come off that mat and win the Stanley Cup. It’s happened before. Think L.A. Kings, and one member of that Stanley Cup winning team was Jarret Stoll, now a center with the Wild.

Stoll played for the Kings at the same position, and they won it all.

“We had a 3-0 lead in every series I think it was and we were lucky enough to win it,” Stoll said. “You can’t rely on that or you can’t expect that but it has been done.”

What they can’t count on is that they are good enough to just turn it on, after a five game losing skid and injuries.

“You know we have a lot of experience in that locker room too,” coach John Torchetti said. “I think a lot of people have forgot that with this team. We’ve got some guys who have played in the playoffs for three straight years so we’re expecting that experience to help us out.”

What he does know is that playing this game at this time of year is exactly what you want to be doing, so enjoy the moment.

“It’s fun. It’s a fun ride so enjoy it,” Stoll said. “The atmosphere and the fans, just everything ramps up. It’s going to be fun.”

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