Series (Game 1 of 1)

Minnesota leads 1-0

Game 1: Friday, October 11th

Bruins 1

(0-1-0, 0 pts)

Wild 5

(1-0-0, 2 pts)

8:30 PM ET, October 11, 2002

Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota

1 2 3 T
BOS 0 1 01
MIN 3 1 15

M. Fernandez (Wild - G): Saves: 26, Save Pct.: .963

A. Brunette (Wild - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

F. Kuba (Wild - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

Fernandez makes 26 saves in Wild's opening win

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- A whole new season, a whole new Manny Fernandez.

Manny Fernandez

Coming off a bad year in Minnesota, Fernandez looked sharp making 26 saves in the Wild's 5-1 season-opening win over the Boston Bruins on Friday night.

Andrew Brunette had a goal and an assist in a game in which 10 Minnesota players registered a point. It was the first season-opening win for the third-year Wild, who sent the sellout crowd of 18,568 into a frenzy with three goals in the first period.

The Wild offense looked sluggish at times. But Fernandez, who helped lead Minnesota to the NHL's only unbeaten preseason record, frustrated Boston.

"He was very solid, just carried over what he did in preseason,'' Brunette said. "It's a new Manny this year.''

Brunette's goal gave the Wild a 3-0 lead at 16:40 of the first period. Brunette, who led Minnesota last season with 48 assists, also set up Sergei Zholtok's goal, which made it 4-1 at 11:52 of the second. Brunette found Zholtok alone in the slot and Zholtok's shot bounced into the net off the post past John Grahame.

Zholtok's goal stole the momentum from Boston. Earlier in the period, the Bruins scored on a shot by Mike Knuble.

"They were up 3-0, but there were two periods left,'' Martin Lapointe said. "There was a lot of positive in the locker room because we knew we could come back.''

Brunette said Minnesota needed to steady itself.

"We looked like we were in trouble and reeling a little bit, and obviously we knew they'd come out hard. We were still a little jittery,'' he said.

But Zholtok's goal gave Minnesota more breathing room and Fernandez did the rest.

"All the guys, they wanted this game so much,'' coach Jacques Lemaire said.

Grahame, who is battling Steve Shields for the No. 1 goaltender spot in Byron Dafoe's departure, got off to a shaky start. He allowed Minnesota's first three goals in a 5:05 span midway through the first period.

"After you make a lot of mistakes and give them some scoring opportunities, it's hard to make saves on them,'' Bruins coach Robbie Ftorek said.

Jim Dowd beat Grahame for Minnesota's fifth goal, an unassisted shorthanded slap shot from the top of the right circle in the third period. Grahame's best save came in the second period when he deflected Marian Gaborik's shot off a breakaway. Grahame finished with 15 saves.

"We just didn't get our game going the way we would have liked,'' Ftorek said.

Richard Park and Wes Walz also scored for the Wild.

Fernandez, who struggled last season after posting good numbers in the Wild's inaugural year, withstood a barrage of shots in the second period. He also made a good glove save on Hal Gill's shot from the left circle with 25 seconds left in the second.

"When you get that cushion, now the pressure's on them and it's easier to play a defensive game,'' Fernandez said.

Park gave the Wild a 1-0 lead at 11:35 of the first period. On the power play, Park backhanded a pass from Filip Kuba in front of the Boston net to beat Grahame.

At 14:56, Walz poked the puck past Grahame's glove on a crisp pass from newcomer Bill Muckalt to put the Wild ahead 2-0. Brunette scored just 1:44 later.

Boston got on the board at 3:50 of the second period when Knuble won a battle for the puck in front of the net and slapped it past Fernandez to make it 3-1.

Game notes

The Wild are 4-0 against Boston. Fernandez is 3-0. ... Minnesota first-round draft pick Pierre-Marc Bouchard notched his first NHL assist on Park's goal. ... The Bruins open the season with their second-longest road trip of the year (six games). ... The Bruins are 10-2-4 in their last 16 season-opening games. ... Knuble's goal was the Bruins' 17,000th in team history.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press