Wild stop Hurricanes
Goalie Roloson just misses shutout
By Andres Ybarra
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Dwayne Roloson was there to preserve the win when Minnesota's offense shut down after the first period.
Roloson stopped 33 shots and just missed his second shutout of the season as the Minnesota Wild beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on Sunday.
"Unbelievable," Wild center Cliff Ronning said of Roloson's performance in the net. "We were fortunate our goalkeeper made some great saves for us, and we played smart to win the game."
Roloson, Minnesota's backup goaltender, looked to be on his way to his ninth career shutout until Ron Francis scored Carolina's only goal with 7:07 left.
Roloson, who turned away six shots after Francis' goal, is unbeaten in his last eight starts (5-0-3).
"I've just been trying to keep our guys in games and give ourselves a chance to win," Roloson said. "Fortunately, we've gotten some timely goals."
With star forward Marian Gaborik sidelined with the flu, the Wild got goals from Ronning and Filip Kuba in the first period. Minnesota's offense stalled after that as the Hurricanes outshot the Wild 30-9 the rest of the game. But Roloson stiffened up in net and frustrated Carolina.
"There were a lot of bodies in front of both nets," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "With that kind of traffic, we finally settled for just trying to get wristers through."
While their offense broke down, the Wild players were solid on defense, diving on the ice to block shots and take some heat off Roloson.
"Defensively, we stepped up quite well tonight," defenseman Brad Bombardir said. "All of us, not just the defensemen. The forwards played great defensively, everyone did. And Roli is obviously our MVP again."
Roloson made a sprawling toe save with just over six minutes left in the second for his best stop. His shutout bid ended when Francis tipped in Tomas Malec's pass from the left point.
The officials initially waved the shot off, saying Francis' stick was too high. But they allowed the goal after reviewing the play.
"You're at the mercy of the video replay," Francis said. "But it was nice that it showed the right thing."
Arturs Irbe had 13 saves for the defending Eastern Conference champions, who failed to win consecutive games after snapping a four-game skid with a victory over Calgary on Thursday.
"We got a couple of pretty good chances late," Malec said. "This team is working hard every night and trying to score, we're just not having any luck."