Good afternoon and welcome to today’s edition of The Face-Off Circle. In this feature, one of our Bolts will face off against an opposing player of the team the Lightning face next. We will see how the two match up against each other, their respective teams, and against the rest of the league.
In today’s edition of The Face-Off Circle, we have another east vs. west match-up of young teams. The Tampa Bay Lightning are continuing their seven-game home stand tonight as they host the Minnesota Wild tonight. The Lightning are coming off an impressive win against the LA Kings Tuesday night that showed how truly talented the Bolts are this year. One of their young stars Alex Killorn will be going up against Minnesota veteran Zach Parise in today’s Face-Off Circle. PUCK DROP!
Zach Parise is one of the most well-known names in the NHL, behind Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin of course. Parise is most known for his efforts on the 2010 USA Olympic team that he was an alternate captain for. He scored the game-tying goal in the third period of the goal-medal game versus Canada that sent it into overtime. Parise was also named the the tournament’s All-Star team. Before joining the Wild however, he was a part of the New Jersey Devils, serving as an alternate captain from 2009-2011 and becoming their captain during the 2011-12 season. In that same season, Parise led the Devils to the Stanley Cup Finals where they lost in six games to the Los Angeles Kings, making him only the second captain in New Jersey history to lead the Devils to the Stanley Cup.
Besides an injury-ridden 2010, Zach has scored at least 30 goals each season with 30+ assists to add on to that total. He has been a problem for the Lightning in almost every game he has played against them. In 24 games played against the Bolts (all with NJ), he holds a 16-8 record scoring ten goals and assisting on another twelve goals. Parise is a scoring machine that has the ability to turn a game around with one shot. Being 5’11” and weighing only 195lbs, Zach is one of the fastest players on the ice, comparable to the likes of Lightning captain Martin St. Louis. He will be one the Bolts look to control and keep the puck away from.
Alex Killorn. Just about everybody in the NHL has NO IDEA who this kid is…..and that’s a very dangerous thing for the rest of the league. Here in Tampa, we got to see some of the incredible talent the Killorn has last year during his rookie year, in which he played in 38 games scoring seven goals with twelve assists. He is already off to a hot start this year, scoring two goals and adding four assists. Alex became a fan favorite after the Buffalo game when he scored the game-winner in overtime to give the Lightning the win. He is excelling in every game that he plays in and his knowledge of the game continues to develop as he gets to play with Marty and Steven Stamkos.
With Alex being just 24 years old and his first official season last year’s lockout shortened year, he has yet to play Minnesota. Since tonight will be his first test against the Wild, they don’t have a clue how incredible this youngster is. I once compared him to a younger Marty, which I still believe is true but the more he progresses, the more he reminds me of Cory Conacher only better. I do think Cory is very talented but Killorn just has certain skills that Conacher had not developed before he was traded away to Ottawa. Alex still has developing to be done but has definitely gotten better since we saw him as a rookie last year. Tonight will surely be a new test for him, as he looks to skate hard and help the Bolts to another victory.
Parise’s veteran knowledge definitely gives him the advantage over Killorn when it comes to head-to-head match-ups but Killorn’s young and unknown status plus home ice advantage will help the Lightning as they look to get their second straight win. Watch out for tough, physical play from both teams and possibly a few fights. Tonight will be a great game! Go Bolts!