Wild Continue Winning Ways at Home

Thursday, October 26th 2006, 6:39 am
By: News On 6

The Minnesota Wild overhauled their defense this offseason and it's paid off so far. The Wild remained undefeated at home as Manny Fernandez made 35 saves and Brian Rolston scored two goals in a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night.

Minnesota, which was coming off a 2-1 West Coast trip, improved to 6-0 at home.

``They're good. They're confident with the puck,'' Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said of his defensemen. ``They can make plays. I think they believe in their ability to get the puck out, to move it.''

The Wild, who went for a trio of experienced defensemen with a history of winning, have allowed 15 goals this season, tied with Dallas for the fewest in the NHL.

``Any defenseman that is on the ice, we have confidence that they're going to do their job,'' said Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who had three assists for Minnesota. ``And Manny is doing a great job. He's making some key saves.''

Fernandez and the Minnesota defense have been particularly impressive against the power play. The Kings were 0-for-7 with the man advantage as the Wild increased their NHL-best penalty-killing percentage to 93.5.

In other NHL games Wednesday, it was: Washington 5, Colorado 3; Carolina 5, Atlanta 4, OT; Anaheim 6, Edmonton 2; Vancouver 5, Chicago 0; Florida 4, New York 2; and Detroit 2, San Jose 1.

Rolston scored his team-high seventh and eighth goals of the season, and Todd White had a goal and two assists.

Northwest Division-leading Minnesota (8-1-0) moved into a tie with Dallas for the Western Conference's best record. Buffalo (9-0-0) is the only team in the NHL with a better mark.

Capitals 5, Avalanche 3

Joe Sakic scored his 1,500th point, but Olaf Kolzig stopped 45 shots _ including 20 in the third period _ to help the Capitals beat the host Avalanche.

Sakic had an assist in the first period to become the 11th player to reach the milestone.

The Avalanche cut the lead to 4-3 at 17:22 on Andrew Brunette's second goal of the game. Colorado pulled goalie Peter Budaj with 1:12 remaining, but Matt Bradley scored an empty-net goal with 35 seconds left.

Alexander Ovechkin had to be helped off the ice with seconds remaining after being hit by a shot in the right leg. He was walking around just fine after the game.

Sakic added a goal in the third period as he snuck in a shot under the arm of Kolzig to make it 3-2. Danius Zubrus scored minutes later to restore Kolzig's two-goal cushion after a turnover by Ossi Vaananen.

Mike Green and Ovechkin also scored for Washington.

Hurricanes 5, Thrashers 4, OT

Anton Babchuk scored 1:11 into overtime to help the Hurricanes win their first game at home.

The Hurricanes fell behind 1-0 as Eric Boulton scored 3:14 into the game when he netted a tip-in. Carolina rallied and scored the next three goals to take a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period as Eric Staal, Scott Walker and Andrew Hutchinson scored.

Atlanta tied it in the second period on goals by Jon Sim and Scott Mellanby.

Ryan Bayda scored his first goal of the season for Carolina, and Ilya Kovalchuk had the other regulation tally for the Thrashers.

Ducks 6, Oilers 2

Ryan Getzlaf and Travis Moen each scored twice, Chris Pronger had three assists against the team he led to the Stanley Cup finals last spring, and the host Ducks beat the Oilers.

Rookie Ryan Shannon also scored and Scott Niedermayer had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who had more than four goals for the first time this season. Anaheim is off to its best start in franchise history at 7-0-2, with both losses have come in shootouts.

Jarret Stoll scored both goals for Edmonton in the first meeting between the clubs since the Western Conference finals, when the Oilers eliminated Anaheim in five games.

Canucks 5, Blackhawks 0

Roberto Luongo recorded his first shutout with Vancouver, and Henrik Sedin had two goals and an assist as the visiting Canucks handed the injury-depleted Blackhawks their third straight loss.

Luongo, acquired in a multiplayer trade from Florida in the offseason, made 32 saves for his 28th career shutout.

Matt Cooke, Brendan Morrison and Taylor Pyatt also scored for the Canucks, who completed a five-game road trip with a 3-2-0 record.

Panthers 4, Rangers 2

Ed Belfour made 35 saves and Jozef Stumpel scored two goals to help the Panthers beat the Rangers for their first road victory of the season.

Juraj Kolnik and Gregory Campbell also scored for Florida.

The 41-year-old Belfour allowed Petr Prucha's power-play score early in the second period and Martin Straka's goal with 6:50 left in the game.

Red Wings 2, Sharks 1

Robert Lang's third-period goal broke a tie and lifted the host Red Wings over the Sharks.

Detroit (4-4-1), which ended a three-game losing streak, also got a goal and an assist from Mathieu Schneider. Dominik Hasek made 22 saves, including a tip attempt and rebound by Steve Bernier with 37 seconds left and a backhander by Milan Michalek from in close with 30.2 seconds left.

Bernier scored the lone goal for San Jose (7-3-0) and gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead.

Schneider's power-play goal 38 seconds into the third period tied it.