MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Wild host the St. Louis Blues in Game 2 of their series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs Wednesday night at Xcel Energy Center, and it appears captain and defenseman Jared Spurgeon will be available.
The NHL Player Safety Committee announced Tuesday morning it has fined Spurgeon $5,000 for a hit on Pavel Buchnevich during the third period of the Wild’s 4-0 loss in Game 1. Spurgeon will not face a suspension.
Spurgeon was asked about the hit Tuesday afternoon as the Wild held a practice optional for players.
"Obviously it’s something I’m not really proud of and something I don’t usually do. Just got a little frustrated, I’m just happy he’s alright. Something I usually don’t do and not the player I am, so I’m not very happy with myself to say the least," Spurgeon said.
The hit happened at the 17:07 mark of the third period. With the Wild down 4-0, Spurgeon cross-checked Buchnevich near his Achilles. It likely came out of frustration, as the Wild out-shot the Blues 37-31 for the game and went 0-for-6 on the power play, unable to score any goals. In his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut, Ville Husso got the shutout in net for the Blues.
The Wild lost its sixth straight game to the Blues, who are now 10-0-1 against the Wild in the last 11 meetings between the two teams. The Wild is also 4-11 in franchise history in Game 1 of the playoffs, and winless in four tries when hosting.
The play was out of character for Spurgeon, who is one of the least penalized players on the Wild with just 10 penalty minutes in 65 regular season games. He's also one of the least penalized players in the NHL since 2010.
"Obviously a frustrating game for us but at the same time, we’ve got to control our emotions, especially myself in doing something like that. I think going forward we just gotta keep our composure better," Spurgeon said. "I thought we had some good looks and some good things to our game, but obviously not the end result we wanted."
"We were frustrated last night and we took some bad penalties. It’s a bad penalty, he knows it, we know it. We’ve got to clean it up, probably a good example. When Jared Spurgeon does something like that, that means your group is off kilter a little bit," Wild coach Dean Evason said Tuesday. "They’ll reign it back in and he’ll be the guy to do it."
The Wild is seeking to bounce back in Game 2 Wednesday night to avoid heading to St. Louis in an 0-2 hole in the best-of-seven series. The Wild has not won a playoff series since beating the Blues in six games in 2015.