ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - It looks as though Minnesota Wild goaltenders and defensemen never got the NHL's memo about wanting to increase offense.
Manny Fernandez made 28 saves and narrowly missed the Wild's second shutout in three games, and Minnesota's power play clicked again in a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Sunday.
``Obviously our goaltending has been great,'' Wild center Brian Rolston said. ``And we're scoring at opportune times. If you can capitalize on those early opportunities, it really gets you going.''
Rolston and Filip Kuba had power-play goals in the first period for the Wild, who entered with the top-ranked unit in the league.
The Wild didn't waste any time getting going on Sunday.
A charging penalty to Corey Perry less than five minutes in gave them their first chance. Marc Chouinard's shot from the point bounced off goaltender J.S. Giguere to Todd White, who slid the puck across the crease to Rolston. He scored to give the Wild a 1-0 lead just under six minutes in.
That was just the beginning. Eight minutes later, the Wild got another power play when Ruslan Salei went to the box for high-sticking.
Chouinard chased down the puck at the right faceoff dot, wheeled and fired at Giguere. The shot bounced all the way into the left circle, and Kuba charged in from the point and slammed the puck past a diving Giguere.
``We need a better penalty kill,'' Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer said. ``They just put it on the net and they kind of knew where the loose puck was going to be, we didn't.''
The Wild were 2-for-8 on the power play and are 9-for-19 with the man advantage at home.
The Ducks seemed to be caught flat-footed, just as Vancouver was on Wednesday in a 6-0 loss to the Wild and goaltender Dwayne Roloson.
``Defensively, we're playing good and getting the breaks,'' Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. ``We just have to keep working as hard as we do so we keep getting those breaks.''
Chouinard had three assists, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Kyle Wanvig also scored for the Wild, who took advantage of a lackluster night from Giguere, the MVP of the 2003 playoffs.
Giguere made just 15 saves and was pulled for Ilja Bryzgalov after giving up a breakaway goal to Wanvig midway through the third period.
New Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said his team is still getting used to the new obstruction rules, which prohibit defensemen from clutching and grabbing. The Wild players were allowed to camp out in the crease all night and feast on rebounds.
``By no way, shape or form was I pointing the finger at our goaltender,'' Carlyle said. ``He made the stops, but on the rebounds, our coverage wasn't there.''
The new rules benefit the Wild, a team built on speed and finesse.
``This is more our game,'' Lemaire said.
Fernandez was rarely tested, but he came up big when he had to. He smothered a point-blank slap shot from Petr Sykora in the third, then made a nifty glove save on a breakaway by Joffrey Lupul a minute later.
He lost his chance for his 11th career shutout when Bruno St. Jacques scored with 13.5 seconds remaining.
``Around the league, it's been tough for certain teams,'' Fernandez said. ``You see the high scores. We've just stayed focused.''
The Mighty Ducks were playing without center Sergei Fedorov and defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh for the second straight game. Fedorov was held out with a groin injury, and Ozolinsh strained a muscle in his chest after missing Friday's game with the flu.
Defenseman Jason Marshall was also scratched after breaking his nose in Friday's win over Columbus.
The Wild were also short-handed. Star forward Marian Gaborik was originally scheduled to make his season debut on Sunday after missing five games with a groin injury. But general manager Doug Risebrough decided to let Gaborik rest for one more game, and the right winger now plans to play against San Jose on Wednesday.
Notes: Fedorov, Ozolinsh and Marshall are all day to day. ... Wild tough guy Derek Boogard got into two fights in the first period. He pummeled Kip Brennan midway through the period, then fought to a draw with Todd Fedoruk at the end of the period. ... White was back in the lineup after sitting out Friday against Vancouver with a thigh bruise.
|PPG - Brian Rolston (3) ASST: Todd White (3), Marc Chouinard (1)|
1 - 0 MIN
|PPG - Filip Kuba (1) ASST: Marc Chouinard (2), Todd White (4)|
2 - 0 MIN
|Pierre-Marc Bouchard (3) ASST: Brent Burns (1), Marc Chouinard (3)|
3 - 0 MIN
|Kyle Wanvig (2) ASST: Todd White (5)|
4 - 0 MIN
|Bruno St. Jacques (1) ASST: Todd Fedoruk (1), Ruslan Salei (1)|
4 - 1 MIN
|Corey Perry Charging against Stephane Veilleux|
|Kip Brennan Fighting (maj) against Derek Boogaard|
|Derek Boogaard Fighting (maj) against Kip Brennan|
|Ruslan Salei Hi-sticking against Pascal Dupuis|
|Stephane Veilleux Slashing against Todd Fedoruk|
|Ruslan Salei Hooking against Kyle Wanvig|
|Todd Fedoruk Fighting (maj) against Derek Boogaard|
|Derek Boogaard Fighting (maj) against Todd Fedoruk|
|Ruslan Salei Holding against Stephane Veilleux|
|Keith Carney Hooking against Randy Robitaille|
|Willie Mitchell Holding against Andy McDonald|
|Brent Burns Holding against Travis Moen|
|Andrei Zyuzin Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Teemu Selanne Hooking against Filip Kuba|
|Jonathan Hedstrom Tripping against Derek Boogaard|
|Brian Rolston Tripping against Keith Carney|
|Daniel Tjarnqvist Hi-sticking against Teemu Selanne|
|Corey Perry Tripping against Daniel Tjarnqvist|
|Kyle Wanvig Interference against Scott Niedermayer|