ST. PAUL (AP) -- Minnesota Wild coach Jacques has noticed a difference in Manny Fernandez, even in his pregame routine.
"Usually you could not only not talk to him, you couldn't look at him because it was bad luck," Lemaire said.
"Now, he's smiling and talking to different guys. He's on the right track and he's coming back."
Fernandez, who led Minnesota to a NHL-best 7-0-1 exhibition record, made 26 saves as the Wild opened the season with a 5-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Friday night.
"He played tonight like he did in the preseason," Lemaire said. "He has been at the top of his game."
The Wild took a 3-0 lead in the first period in support of Fernandez, trying to bounce back from a disappointing season that saw him go 12-24-5 with a 3.05 goals-against average.
"When you get that cushion, now the pressure's on them and it's easier to play a defensive game," Fernandez said.
Ten players had points for Minnesota. Andrew Brunette's goal at 16:40 of the first gave the Wild a 3-0 lead. But Boston came back with an early goal in the second period by Mike Knuble.
"They were up 3-0, but there were two periods left," Boston forward Martin Lapointe said. "There was a lot of positive in the locker room because we knew we could come back."
But at 11:52, Brunette set up a goal by Sergei Zholtok to make it 4-1. Richard Park, Wes Walz and Jim Dowd also scored for the Wild.
Boston goalie John Grahame, battling Steve Shields for the No. 1 goalie spot following Byron Dafoe's departure, got off to a shaky start. He allowed Minnesota's first three goals in a 5:05 span midway through the first period.
"We were playing well at the beginning," Boston coach Robbie Ftorek said. "But he did give up a couple of changes. He made a good save on a breakaway and he had a couple of really good saves for us to keep us in the game early."
But things started snowballing as Park, Walz and Brunette threw the sellout crowd of 18,568 into a frenzy with their goals.
Grahame's teammates didn't blame him.
"I think guys were too anxious and when you're too anxious, you tend to do too much and create mistakes and turnovers" Lapointe said. "There's 81 games left. The game of hockey is a game of mistakes and we did a lot of them tonight."
Notes: The Wild are 4-0 against Boston. Fernandez is 3-0. ... Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Minnesota first-round draft pick, had his first NHL assist on Park's goal. ... The Bruins are opening the season with a six-game trip, their second-longest of the season. ... Knuble's goal was the Bruins' 17,000th.
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