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Zach Parise

Former und players highlight series

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GRAND FORKS — Two of UND’s all-time greats will be going head-to-head in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Again.

For the second year in a row, Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks will meet up against Zach Parise and the Minnesota Wild in a best-of-seven, Western Conference series.

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Last year, Toews and the Blackhawks knocked the Wild out in the first round, winning the series 4-1. This time, the teams will meet in the Western Conference semifinals, beginning tonight in Chicago’s United Center (8:30 p.m., NBC Sports).

Both players figure to be key for their teams.

Toews, the captain of the Blackhawks, led his team in scoring during the first round with three goals (all game-winners) and seven points as Chicago rallied from a 2-0 series deficit to beat St. Louis.

Parise, the alternate captain of the Wild, led his team in scoring during the first round with three goals and 10 points as Minnesota rallied from a 2-0 series deficit to beat Colorado. Parise is tied for the scoring lead in the entire NHL playoffs.

The first playoff matchup between the two was one-sided in favor of the Blackhawks, who went on to win their second Stanley Cup in four years.

But Parise and Toews – often times matched up head-to-head – canceled each other out and Chicago’s depth is what hurt the Wild the most.

This season, the Wild are getting a lot more production from around the lineup than last, but expected Parise to be at the forefront if the Wild are to make it a tight series.

Parise had 10 points against the Avalanche in Round 1, including a four-point night in Game 6. He tallied points in six of the seven games in the series. Toews was similarly reliable for the Hawks, tallying points in five of Chicago’s six games against the Blues.

There are a lot of similarities between the two. They both played prep hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minn. They both played two years at UND in Ralph Engelstad Arena. They both have gone on to star careers in the NHL. Both have been captains of teams. Both have played in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Right now, Toews is the only one to win a Cup.

For Parise to join the club, he’ll need to go through him.

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