The Wild gave fans a treat on Sunday. Instead of the usual drills as part of an annual fall outdoor workout, Minnesota held a 3-on-3 scrimmage at the Recreation Outdoor Center in St. Louis Park.
As an added surprise, the packed crowd got to see Jared Spurgeon on the rink in the hockey competition.
Spurgeon’s white jerseys, featuring teammates like Kirill Kaprizov, Mats Zucarello and Jonas Brodin, rallied from a 5-2 deficit to beat the green team of Matt Boldy, Ryan Hartman and Joel Eriksson Ek 6-5.
It was the first time fans were able to see Spurgeon in competition since the preseason games, and the veteran defenseman will travel to New York on Monday for a three-game road trip.
That doesn’t mean he will play Tuesday night against the Islanders.
“I don’t know,” coach Dean Evason said. “Obviously he’s progressing enough to be able to play in this game (but) he’s still not in the contract drills so we’ll see how he progresses. … Of course we have to evaluate day by day.”
Injured veterans Freddy Gaudreau (upper body) and Alex Goligoski (lower body) were at what has become a family event for the team and fans, but everyone wore street clothes. Neither has made any progress in skating and both will remain in Minnesota this week.
Spurgeon hasn’t played since suffering an upper-body injury while checked into a preseason game in Chicago on Oct. 5, but has been training with his teammates since Wednesday.
“When he’s free to play and feels like he’s ready, then we’ll put him in the lineup,” Evason said. “We obviously want him back, but we also want him to stay healthy for the rest of the season.”
Center Marco Rossi scored on a pass from Kirill Kaprizov to give the New York Rangers a 4-3 third-period lead on Saturday as the Wild ended a four-game winning streak with a 5-4 shootout victory at Xcel Energy Center.
It was his fifth goal in 11 games this season, tying him with Chicago’s Connor Bedard for the lead among all NHL rookies on Sunday.
Since Evason juggled his lines in the second period of a 5-3 loss to New Jersey last Thursday, Rossi has been playing with wingers Kaprizov and Matt Boldy. In these five game periods, this trio has combined for three goals – one on the power play – and six assists.
Boldy, who has played two games since returning from a seven-game injury layoff (upper body), scored the winning goal in Saturday’s penalty shootout.
“They played with a lot of pace. They all have skills that help them find each other,” Evason said. “Bolds has only played a few games and he will only get better and obviously the chemistry between Rossi and Kirill seems to be right.”
Winger Marcus Johansson did not take part in Sunday’s bout for what Evason called “precautionary reasons” and is expected to train on Monday before the team leaves for New York.