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WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: MINNESOTA VS. MIGHTY DUCKS
/ WILD REPORT

No Word on Goalie Switch

May 12, 2003|Elliott Teaford | Times Staff Writer

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Wild exchanged one Twin City for another Sunday afternoon. Booted from its downtown arena in St. Paul because the circus was in town, the Wild practiced at a rink on the outskirts of downtown Minneapolis.

Meanwhile, after his team's optional skate, Coach Jacques Lemaire gave no word on whether he would change goaltenders for Game 2 of the Wild's Western Conference final series tonight against the Mighty Ducks.

Manny Fernandez started Game 1, giving up only Petr Sykora's goal 8:06 into the second overtime Saturday. Later, Lemaire said he benched Dwayne Roloson because he didn't want Roloson to aggravate groin and knee injuries.

Fernandez has started seven playoff games and has a 1.93 goals-against average; Roloson has nine starts and a 2.46 goals-against average.

When asked if he would turn to Roloson tonight, Lemaire offered a cagey response. Peering from behind a lectern in the lobby of the rink, Lemaire glanced toward the ice where the goalies were wrapping up their workout with a handful of teammates.

"Roloson looks good," he said. "He might start. He might not."

Someone else wondered if the pressure was on Fernandez and Roloson to match the remarkable play of Duck standout Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

"They're not playing Giguere," Lemaire said. "They're playing Anaheim. They're not in competition against Giguere."

*

Giguere stopped all 39 shots he faced in Game 1, his second shutout in the playoffs. Solving him in the playoffs has been more difficult than talking about getting pucks by him.

"Their goaltender beat a lot of better shooters than maybe we have," Lemaire said after Saturday's game, referring to the Ducks' series victories over the Detroit Red Wings and Dallas Stars. "We have to find a way to score on him."

Or as Minnesota forward Sergei Zholtok put it Sunday: "It's frustrating, but it never becomes psychological with this team. This team is strong that way. He [Giguere] will never get into our heads."

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Zholtok didn't lack for scoring chances Saturday, including a point-blank deflection that struck the crossbar in the first period. Zholtok also had four shots on net in the opening 20 minutes, but none after that.

"I saw some of them on the news," Zholtok said of his missed opportunities. "It seemed like [Giguere] had them played perfectly. I didn't get them high enough."

*

Zholtok said he was tired after playing three games in four days, wrapping up a second-round series victory over the Vancouver Canucks with consecutive wins in Game 6 at St. Paul on Wednesday and Game 7 at Vancouver on Thursday and then facing the Ducks on Saturday at St. Paul.

"I shut it down," he said. "I went home and went to sleep for 10 or 11 hours [Saturday]. Then I played with the kids and then went shopping. I feel great right now. I'm ready to go."

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