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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Jared Spurgeon spent a month watching the Minnesota Wild from the press box. When he returned to action Tuesday night, he didnt waste any time making an impact. Spurgeon had two assists in his return from injury, Darcy Kuemper made 34 saves and the Wild defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1. One of Minnesotas top defencemen, Spurgeon was placed on injured reserve Jan. 4 after he hurt his left foot against Buffalo. While the Wild went 8-4-2 in his absence, they were eager to get him back in the lineup -- and he was eager to get back into the flow. "I think theres lots of adrenaline that helps you," Spurgeon said. "At the start I was a little nervous being off for a month, but they threw me right out there for the opening shift and that helped me really calm down and get my feet wet for that first one." Spurgeon got started early, setting up Nino Niederreiter for his fifth goal of the season 9 seconds into a power play in the first period. Early in the third, Spurgeon helped the Wild double their lead when he fed Dany Heatley in the slot for his 11th. Spurgeon ended up playing 21:12, third-most among Minnesota defencemen. "Hes taken really good care of himself while hes been out," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "To be able to come in and play at the level that he did tonight just shows you how smart of a player he is." The Lightning pulled within a goal with just more than 6 minutes to play when Valtteri Filppula tipped in Martin St. Louis pass at the goalmouth for his 20th of the season. Tampa Bay buzzed around the net the rest of the way, but Kuemper stopped Alex Killorn and St. Louis from in close, and Tyler Johnsons shot hit the post in the final 40 seconds. Lightning coach Jon Cooper was hoping to see a little more fire out of his club at the end of a 1-3 road trip. "I dont know how much courage we had going to the net tonight, until the end," Cooper said. "Hence, its shocking where our goal was scored, standing right in front of the net." While the Lightning are still clinging to second place in the Atlantic Division, goalie Ben Bishop said theyll welcome a return home for two games before the Olympic break. "I dont know if you want to say were tired, but its been a long road trip," Bishop said. "We dont want to make excuses, but weve got to be better." Bishop, who finished with 24 saves, was tested often throughout the first two periods, stopping Zach Parise on a breakaway with 5 minutes to play in the first period and stoning Mikael Granlund on a point-blank backhand early in the second. Bishop was shaken up midway through the second when Parise fired a slap shot that hit the goalie in the head, but he remained in the game. Meanwhile, Kuemper made a nifty glove save to stop Johnson on a breakaway late in the second and stood tall all night in his 11th straight start, a franchise record for rookie goalies. The Wild are 6-3-2 in that span, but Yeo was impressed with how Kuemper rebounded from his last two starts, a loss at Colorado in which he was pulled and an overtime defeat at Calgary. "How do you come back to the rink the next day and be mentally tough enough to come in and perform at the level that you need to? Thats what was very impressive about him tonight," Yeo said. "I liked his game an awful lot." While the Wild got Spurgeon back, they had another setback on the blue line 2 minutes into the game when defenceman Marco Scandella got tangled up with Johnson. Scandella skated off the ice with assistance, favouring his right leg, and did not return. Yeo labeled him "doubtful" for Minnesotas pre-Olympics finale Thursday against Nashville. NOTES: Filppula returned after missing Saturdays game at Montreal with a lower-body injury. ... St. Louis assist gave him 966 points, moving him past former Canadiens great Maurice Richard into 85th place on the NHLs career list. 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Wholesale Shoes Black Friday Free Shipping .Y. - Referee Ed Hochuli referred to replay official Tom Sifferman by his nickname Jungle Boy, which was heard on the in-stadium microphone during the Arizona Cardinals-Carolina Panthers NFC wild-card game Saturday.INDIANAPOLIS -- Ohio States No. 3 quarterback looked every bit as good as the other two. Cardale Jones even did something his two all-conference predecessors could not. He led the Buckeyes to a Big Ten title. Jones threw for 257 yards and three touchdowns and was named the games MVP in his first career start, leading No. 6 Ohio State to a 59-0 rout of No. 11 Wisconsin in Saturday nights conference championship game -- an emphatic statement to the College Football Playoff selection committee. I dont think theres any doubt were one of the top four teams in America, coach Urban Meyer said after one of the most lopsided title games in Big Ten history. Heading into championship weekend, it looked like the Buckeyes would be the first team out. They still might, but Ohio State hopes Saturdays impressive blowout at least keeps them in the conversation as the final deliberations take place Sunday. Ohio State (12-1, 8-0 Big Ten, No. 5 CFP) has won 11 straight since losing at home to Virginia Tech and has beaten nine bowl-eligible teams all but two by double digits. Still, some wondered whether losing record-setting quarterback J.T. Barrett with a broken right ankle in the regular season finale after losing Heisman Trophy candidate Braxton Miller with a right shoulder injury in August, would be too much to overcome. Not a chance. Jones was efficient and effective Saturday, going 12 of 17. Ezekiel Elliott carried 12 times for 150 yards and two scores in the first half and finished with 20 carries for a career high 220 yards. Devin Smith caught four passes for 137 yards and three scores. The defence completely shut down Wisconsin (10-3, 7-1, No. 13 CFP) and kept Melvin Gordon, the nations leading rusher, under control. Gordon ran 26 times for 76 yards, his second-worst game of the season. Ohio State handed the Badgers their first shutout since August 1997 and their worst loss since a 59-0 rout, also to the Buckeyes, in 1979.dddddddddddd All of it came after an emotional week for the Buckeyes, who learned of the death of defensive linemen Kosta Karageorge one day after Barretts season-ending injury. Ohio State honoured Karageorge by wearing a decal with his jersey number, 53, on the back of its helmets. Defensive tackle Michael Bennett changed his jersey number from 63 to 53, and before the national anthem, there was a moment of silence to honour Karageorge, who was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Have the Buckeyes done enough on the field to make college footballs inaugural final four? They beat a team that had won seven straight overall, had rushed for 435.8 yards in its previous five games in the Hoosier State and was a four-point favourite coming into the game. But against a quarterback and the motivated Buckeyes, Wisconsin never had a chance. We can play with anybody, and were going to work extremely hard whoever we play against, Smith said. They were outgained 364-91 in first half yards when Ohio State scored on five of its first six possessions against the nations No. 4 scoring defence. Ohio State had 558-258 advantage overall. And the Buckeyes made it look easy. Just six plays into the game, Jones hooked up with Smith on a pretty 39-yard floater for a 7-0 lead. Elliott then found a whole in the middle and sprinted 81 yards for a score. After Wisconsin finally held the Buckeyes to a field goal, Jones hooked up again with Smith on a 44-yard TD pass to make it 24-0 with 11:09 left in the second quarter, then capped the half with Elliotts 14-yard TD run and Joey Bosas 4-yard fumble return for a score to make it 38-0. Not much changed in the second half. Smith made a nifty two-handed, off-balance catch as he was going backward into the end zone for a 42-yard score early in the third quarter, and the Buckeyes closed it out with two Curtis Samuel touchdown runs in the fourth. ' ' '