Fernandez got his 100th NHL win with 30 saves and Todd White scored the deciding goal in the sixth round of the shootout, leading the Wild to a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night. Minnesota is 6-0 this season in games that go past regulation.
"Manny's a big part of that," White said. "He made some big stops. It's great having him back there. I know he's tough to beat on breakaways in practice, so he's tough in shootouts. But he was solid throughout the whole game."
The prettiest move of the game came in overtime when Kings forward Michael Cammalleri carried the puck into the Minnesota zone, faked a slap shot, then stickhandled between the legs of defenseman Kim Johnsson before Fernandez stopped his scoring attempt at the edge of the crease with 3:31 left.
That clutch save helped Minnesota improve to 3-0 against Los Angeles this season. Fernandez, who has started all 15 games for the Wild, has stopped 99 of 103 shots in the three victories over the Kings.
"They had a tough game the other night and they came out really hard at us," White said. "They did some things to try and take us out of our game, in terms of skating and moving the puck. They forechecked hard and made it difficult for us to make the nice breakouts and nice plays through the neutral zone."
After facing the NHL's top power play Thursday night in a 7-3 loss to San Jose, the Kings went up against a Minnesota squad that boasted the league's top penalty-killing unit and had allowed only two goals in their previous 49 short-handed situations. But the Kings, who had at least one power-play goal in six straight contests, had the man advantage only once.
"One penalty -- that's a good effort," defenseman Keith Carney said. "One thing that affected us the last game was that we took too many penalties and it put us at a disadvantage, so tonight we made a conscious effort to keep our sticks down and use our legs and skate. We were more committed defensively and made sure we weren't giving up quality chances."
Kurtis Foster put Minnesota ahead 2-1 just 1:46 into he third period, beating Mathieu Garon high to the glove side with a one-timer from 50 feet that changed direction off Kings defenseman Rob Blake. However, Cammalleri tied it with 8:46 left in regulation, putting a short wrist shot past Fernandez's stick from short range after defenseman Martin Skoula had trouble clearing the puck from the low slot.
Mattias Norstrom connected for Los Angeles at 2:43 of the first period with his first goal of the season and first in 23 career games against Minnesota. Brian Willsie won a faceoff deep in the Wild zone and Cammalleri got it back to the left point, where Norstrom unloaded a slap shot that skimmed off Skoula's skate and beat Fernandez to the glove side.
But Minnesota capitalized on Norstrom's holding penalty, tying the score at 16:49 of the second period with only their second power-play goal in six road games this season. Brian Rolston, who scored a career-high 34 goals last season, got his team-high 11th on a one-timer from 45 feet while teammate Branko Radivojevic and Kings defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky were screening Garon.
"We respect their game. You have to with their record and the way they play," Cammalleri said. "They play a team game and everyone's on the same page, so that's tough to play against."
- Garon made 32 saves.
- Minnesota had the last six power plays of the game, including one in OT after the Kings received their second bench minor for having too many players on the ice.
- The longest stretch of consecutive starts by Fernandez prior to this season was 13 (March 5-April 2, 2006).
- Minnesota C Wes Walz returned to the lineup after missing three of the previous four with a hip flexor.
- Marian Gaborik, who missed his eighth straight game because of a groin injury, has 13 goals in 19 career games against the Kings -- including the game-winner in overtime on Oct. 18 at Staples Center.
- The departure of C Pavol Demitra to Minnesota has adversely affected Kings C Craig Conroy, who has only one goal and four assists in 19 games after recording 22 goals and 66 assists last season playing on a line with Demitra.