Minnesota wins wild home opener

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 12, 2000

Thursday, October 12, 2000

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Aaron Peterson/Austin Daily Herald

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Minnesota Wild goalie Manny Fernandez slides to make one of his 36 saves Wednesday night on a shot by Philadelphia’s Daymond Langkow (18). Wild defenseman Ladislav Benyseka (3) also pursues the play.

Minnesota wins wild home opener

Minnesota native Hendrickson scores team’s first goal at home; Wild ties Flyers 3-3

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – The Minnesota Wild’s home debut was satisfying for the expansion franchise, even though it wasn’t a victory.

Manny Fernandez made sure the first regular-season game at Xcel Energy Center was one to remember as the Wild tied Philadelphia 3-3 to gain their first NHL point after two losses to start the season.

Fernandez made 36 saves, including seven in overtime, in the first NHL game involving a Minnesota team since the North Stars played their last game on April 13, 1993.

"I think it’s a good tie," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "Any point we get will be a good point for us. I think we could skate better. Play harder? I don’t think so. You see guys battling out there. … Overall they never quit."

Fernandez was kept busy, laying out to smother pucks and stop shots as Philadelphia exploited Minnesota’s inexperienced defense.

"A couple of unlucky bounces here and there and we could have won," Fernandez said. "We got a point and we’ve got to be pretty happy with that."

The Flyers were without John LeClair, who has back problems and didn’t make the three-game road trip.

"No disrespect to Minnesota, but we should have won this hockey game," Flyers goalie Brian Boucher said. "A 3-3 tie is not acceptable."

The Wild took a 3-2 lead on Wes Walz’s short-handed goal at 9:12 of the third period, but Eric Desjardins tied it at 10:37.

Marian Gaborik, the Wild’s first-round draft pick this year, had a power-play goal to kick-start Minnesota’s offense with 55 seconds left in the second.

The 18-year-old Gaborik shot the puck into Boucher’s arm, and the puck trickled out of his hand, which was resting in the goal.

It was Minnesota’s first power-play goal of the season. The Wild are 1-for-18 on the power play this season, including 1-for-4 Wednesday night.

Peter White’s second goal of the game, 5:43 into the third, tied the score 2-2.

White also scored the game’s first goal at 13:41 of the first period. Simon Gagne passed it to Rick Tocchet along the boards, and White tipped it to Fernandez, got the rebound and slid it under Fernandez’s leg.

Darby Hendrickson, who played in college at Minnesota and grew up in suburban Richfield, got a standing ovation when he scored the Wild’s first goal at 17:19. He redirected Maxim Sushinsky’s cross-ice pass past Boucher, who made 19 saves.

"It’s a thrill, but to tell the truth, I was out there for (Philadelphia’s) first goal and I just wanted to get one back for out team," Hendrickson said.