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L.A. hasn't won in 13 games

1/15/2004

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Wild must start winning
soon if they want to return to the playoffs -- all these ties aren't
going to cut it.

On Wednesday night, however, they were more than happy to come
out even.

Dwayne Roloson made 44 saves, and Andrew Brunette scored a rare power-play goal for the Wild in a 2-2 tie with the Los Angeles Kings.

Minnesota, the only team in the NHL without an overtime
decision, leads the league with 13 ties.

"We're still getting points -- that's the main thing," Roloson
said. "Unfortunately, a team ahead of us got a point also.
Eventually, we're going to have to get some wins."

The Kings, who haven't won in 13 games (0-3-9-1), have 46
points. They are tied for eighth in the West, three points ahead of
the Wild.

"If we continue to play as determined as we are," Kings coach
Andy Murray said, "we know we'll be rewarded."

Minnesota, with 43 points, is in 11th after advancing to the
conference finals last season. The Wild have just one win in their past 11
games (1-3-7).

Nick Schultz tied it at 2-all midway through the second period with a nifty, on-the-move backhander that sailed past Kings goalie Roman Cechmanek's shoulder.

The Wild had two great chances to win. Marian Gaborik, an
All-Star last year who has just five goals this season, hit the
left post with a shot in the third period and misfired on the
rebound after it came straight back to him in the slot.

With less 10 seconds remaining in overtime, Pascal Dupuis came
out of the penalty box for a two-on-one with Jim Dowd, who passed
to Willie Mitchell -- whose shot was partially deflected by Eric Belanger.

"What's good about it is we're there every game," Wild coach
Jacques Lemaire said. "We're not winning. We're there every
game."

Roloson was the star on a night when his team's normally sound
defense was soft at best. Los Angeles had 46 shots, the most
allowed by Minnesota this season and also a franchise record at
home.

"Thank you, Roly," Lemaire said, pressing his hands together
as if he were praying. "It's got to be one of his top games."

Belanger and Scott Barney scored for the injury-decimated
Kings, whose last victory was Dec. 16. Leading scorer Ziggy Palffy
is out for the season after shoulder surgery, and forward
Martin Straka is out with a sprained knee. Forwards Jason Allison and
Adam Deadmarsh haven't played at all.

Los Angeles, which played Nashville to a scoreless tie Tuesday, had a 19-6 shots advantage in the first period -- but nothing good came out of it. The Kings trailed 1-0 thanks to a poorly executed penalty kill -- they're third-to-last in the NHL in that category.

Jozef Stumpel had a point-blank shot from the top of the crease,
but it was gloved by Roloson. A little later, at the other end of
the ice, Brunette knocked in a rebound of Andrei Zyuzin's shot to
make it 1-0.

Persistence paid off for the Kings early in the second period. Belanger came from behind the net, sneaked in front of defenseman Schultz and stuffed a shot in the corner to tie it.

Barney -- called up from the minors Monday when Palffy and
Straka were placed on the injured list -- scored on a slap shot
through traffic to put Los Angeles ahead 2-1.

Murray was asked whether the tie was a disappointment, considering
that his team doubled the Wild's shot total.

"I don't even know how you can put the word 'disappointment' in
the same sentence with our effort tonight," Murray said. "We
played a determined game."

Game notes
Brunette's goal was Minnesota's first with an extra skater
in 28 home chances. Leading Minnesota with 26 points and nine
power-play points, Brunette broke a 13-game goal drought. ...
Barney, playing in his first game this season, scored his first NHL
goal. "This is very rewarding after a lot of hard work I put in,"
he said. "Hopefully I'll get a permanent spot here." ... Roloson
has allowed two or fewer goals in 13 of his starts. ... This is the first
of three meetings between the Kings and the Wild over the next month.