After missing four games because of a virus that had left him ill for more than a week, Niklas Backstrom returned to the net for the Wild on Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Backstrom said earlier this week that he started feeling sick during the Wild's loss in Calgary on Jan. 7, and after finishing that game, he was scratched for the next three as Matt Hackett was called up from Houston. Backstrom was available for Tuesday's game in Philadelphia, but coach Mike Yeo stuck with Josh Harding after he made a career-high 47 saves Saturday at St. Louis.

Backstrom faced Toronto for the fourth time in his career Thursday; he was 2-1 with a 2.00 goals-against average against the Maple Leafs with a 2.00 goals-against average going into the game.

"The last few days, he has felt a lot better in practice, and he's excited to get the game going," Yeo said.

Zanon returns to lineup

Defenseman Greg Zanon, who had been scratched the past two games in favor of Mike Lundin, got back on the ice Thursday as Yeo made the decision to sit Justin Falk.

Falk had one of his best games of the season Saturday night at St. Louis and set a physical tone early, registering five hits and goading Blues captain David Backes into a fight that cost him 19 penalty minutes.