(Sports Network) - The Minnesota Wild shelled out mega dollars to sign ZachParise and Ryan Suter this offseason in the hopes of snapping a four-seasonplayoff drought.
The Wild have so far looked more than capable of pulling that off and they tryto wrap a three-game homestand perfect on Tuesday night in a matchup withSuter's former team, the Nashville Predators.
Minnesota made a big splash in free agency when it signed Parise and Suter tomatching 13-year, $98 million contracts on July 4 and have gotten off theirbest start since winning the first four games of the 2008-09 campaign.
The Wild began the season with a victory over Colorado on Saturday beforenotching a 1-0 triumph versus the Dallas Stars the following night. Parise hadtwo assists in his Wild debut before logging the only goal of Sunday's game inthe first period.
"It's been great. We're 2-0, so that's always a really good start," saidParise. "I think there's definitely still room for some improvement. We canget better in different areas, but bottom line is we won our first two andthat's what we wanted to do."
Perhaps even a bigger story than Parise's first goal with the Wild was JoshHarding's 24-save shutout. The netminder was making his first appearance sincebeing diagnosed with multiple sclerosis during the offseason and posted hisseventh career shutout.
"It feels good right now. It was a long time coming. It's been a tough couplemonths here and this made it all worth it," Harding admitted. "I can't thankthe team enough for having my back. They made some great plays and made my joba lot easier."
The Wild, who will play their first road game on Friday in Detroit, are stillwaiting for Suter to notch his first point of the season. It could happen onTuesday against the club that selected him seventh overall in the 2003 draft.
Suter, who turned 28 on Monday, teamed with current Predators captain SheaWeber to form one of the top defensive pairings in the league before takinghis services to Minnesota. Suter had 38 goals and 200 assists in 542 gamesover seven seasons with Nashville and went to his first All-Star Game lastseason.
The defenseman won't be making a return trip to Nashville, though, as thePredators are set to embark on a franchise record-tying seven-game swing onTuesday. They are still looking for their first victory, having dropped theirfirst two at home in shootouts.
Two days after a defeat to Columbus, Nashville dropped a 4-3 decision to St.Louis on Monday night. Patric Hornqvist had a goal and two assists inregulation, while Colin Wilson and Mike Fisher also scored.
However, Craig Smith and Martin Erat both came up empty on their shootoutchances, while Pekka Rinne did not stop either skater he faced after making 36saves through overtime.
"We haven't been beaten in a game," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "We'vebeen beaten in a little bit of a skills competition."
Trotz's team won't play its next home game until Feb. 7 as it matches theseven-game swing the club endured from Oct. 30-Nov. 12, 2002. The Predatorsonly won once on that trek.
Nashville could also be in for another tight game as all four contests betweenthese two clubs last season were decided by a single goal. The Predators didwin three of those games and have taken seven of the last nine encountersoverall.