Tuesday, April 8
April 8, 4:27 PM ET
Roloson gets starting nod over Fernandez
ST. PAUL -- After weeks of speculation, Minnesota coach
Jacques Lemaire said Tuesday that goaltender Dwayne Roloson will
start Game 1 of the Wild's first-round playoff series against the
"Roly will start and we'll see after that,'' said Lemaire, who
didn't offer any more insight on what led him to choose Roloson
over Manny Fernandez.
Both goalies had excellent seasons for the third-year Wild, who
make their first-ever playoff appearance Thursday night against the
Avs. Roloson played 50 games and went 23-16-8 with four shutouts
and a .927 save percentage. Fernandez, who missed 10 games with an
injured knee, went 19-13-2 with two shutout and a career-high .924
save percentage in 34 games.
The two combined for a 2.14 goals-against-average -- fourth-best
in the NHL.
How well Roloson does will determine whether Lemaire starts him
again for Game 2.
"I'm pretty excited but I can't get too excited because the
next thing you know, the puck will be in the net,'' said Roloson,
who signed a three-year extension worth a reported $2 million last
Fernandez wasn't available for comment, but seemed loose and in
good spirits during Tuesday's intense practice.
Roloson said he and Fernandez, whose stalls are side by side in
the Wild dressing room, have had no problems sharing the No. 1
"We've been doing it for the last two years,'' he said.
Roloson had his breakout season last year for the Wild while
Fernandez, who shined in Minnesota's inaugural year, went through a
horrible slump. But a refreshed Fernandez showed up in training
camp and immediately turned in impressive performances.
"I don't think they'd sit there and say it, but I think they're
both competitive and they both want to play and they both maybe
want to one-up the other,'' defenseman Willie Mitchell said.
"They're happy for each other when they have success.''
Lemaire had said he would wait until Minnesota knew which team
it would face in the playoffs before deciding which goalie to use.
Neither has a stellar record against Colorado, but Roloson has
fared a little better.
Roloson started two games against the Avs, earning ties in both
of them. In the first game against Colorado he stopped 45 of 47
shots. Fernandez went 1-2 against Colorado, winning 3-2 in overtime
on Oct. 29 in St. Paul.
"They're really an incredible team,'' Roloson said. "They're
probably the best team coming into the playoffs right now.''
With Patrick Roy, one of the game's great goalies, in the net
for Colorado, the Wild don't expect many scoring chances. That
means both Roloson and Fernandez can't afford to have a bad night.
But Roloson said he doesn't view the game as a matchup between
himself and Roy.
"If I start worrying about what he's doing, it's going to
affect me,'' he said. "So I've just got to go out and play the
game that I've been playing all year.''