Defenseman Jared Spurgeon returned to the Wild lineup Sunday following a nine-game absence because of a groin strain. Spurgeon played 23 minutes, 20 seconds, finished a minus-1 and blocked three shots in a 4-1 loss to Chicago.
"It was his first game," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. "You can see the excitement; his first couple shifts were great. He was probably a little bit rusty, but overall Jared Spurgeon's a great player."
With this his first game since the end of November, the pace of play was quick for Spurgeon so he tried to simplify his approach and avoid fancy plays. He was the one who made the ill-timed line change that helped spring Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane for a breakaway on the game-winning goal, but getting Spurgeon back is still a major lift for the blue line.
"It felt good to be back out there," Spurgeon said. "Obviously you'd like to make a difference and [have] the team come out with a win. But I was happy to be back."