Jackets Fall at Minnesota, 5-0
Fredrik Norrena makes his NHL debut in relief of Pascal Leclaire
Brian Rolston scored two goals and had an assist to help the Wild remain unbeaten with a 5-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
Manny Fernandez had 24 saves for his first shutout of the season for the Wild (5-0-0), who are off to the best start in franchise history. It was the first regulation loss for Columbus. Minnesota, which entered the game with the NHL's top power-play unit, scored a pair of man-advantage goals.
"It felt good because the power play was going well and we had control of the game," said Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire. "We had a slow start, and we were a little fortunate that maybe they had the same kind of start."
The Blue Jackets, who had scored a dozen goals in their first three games, had not been shutout since March 2. Their best offensive opportunity came in the opening minutes when Rick Nash got open in front of Fernandez but clanked a backhand shot off the crossbar.
"If Nash scores early in the first period, when he hit off the crossbar, it could be a different game," Blue Jackets coach Gerard Gallant.
Rolston, who leads the Wild with four goals, scored in the first and third periods. Minnesota led 1-0 after one period, but broke the game open in the second with goals by Keith Carney, Marian Gaborik and Mikko Koivu.
"You don't win the Stanley Cup in October, or even make the playoffs," said Rolston. "But it's a good start."
Pascal Leclaire gave up four goals before being lifted midway through the second period. Rookie Fredrik Norrena replaced him and finished with 11 saves in his NHL debut.
"We just came out flat, and we were flat the whole game," said Blue Jackets forward Duvie Westcott, noting that the team hadn't played since a home win with the Coyotes on Monday. "Guys didn't have their legs. And the second period just killed us."
All of Minnesota's previous four wins had been by one goal, including one in overtime and two in shootouts.
"It's hard to say how good we can be," said Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire, whose team plays three road games in California starting Wednesday in Los Angeles. "We'll have to go on the road and play some. At that point I think we'll know a little bit more about our team."
Notes: Carney's goal was his first since October 26, 2005, when he was skating for Anaheim. ... Norrena won two games for Finland during the 2006 Winter Olympics, shutting out Italy and Germany. ... Wild wing Mattias Weinhandl played just one shift after a jarring open-ice collision with Blue Jackets center Manny Malhotra in the second period. Lemaire said that Weinhandl is out indefinitely and will undergo tests on Sunday.