ST. PAUL (AP) -- Manny Fernandez didn't fret over losing a shutout with 21 seconds left. More importantly, his confidence has returned.
"I want to get the win," said Fernandez, who made 26 saves in the Wild's 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.
"It doesn't matter to me if it's 2-1 or 3-2," he said. "I'm not going for the biggest shutout streak or anything like that."
Sergei Zholtok's third-period slap shot snapped a scoreless tie for the Wild, who won for the third time in four games and moved past Vancouver into third place in the Northwest Division.
Wes Walz's shot from the left circle made it past Dan Cloutier to put Minnesota up 2-0 with 2:41 left.
Fernandez was on his way to his second straight shutout when Markus Naslund flipped the puck from behind the net to Matt Cooke, whose shot got past Fernandez with 21 seconds left.
"It's a long process -- it's only two games," said Fernandez (4-5-1), who ranked sixth in the NHL in save percentage last season and continued his rebound from a dreadful six-game stretch in which he allowed 26 goals -- five or more in three of those. He stopped 22 shots in a shutout at San Jose last Wednesday.
"I'm just happy to make some saves," Fernandez said. "In the last two weeks, they kept coming at me. When they're beating you with good shots, your confidence goes down."
Vancouver fired away at Fernandez in the last half of the third period, outshooting the Wild 12-3 during that stretch and 27-18 for the game. Trevor Linden had two solid chances to score in that time, a shot between the circles and another that hit the post.
Minnesota's defense was strong, too, sweeping away several potential rebounds -- something it hadn't done much during Fernandez's slump.
"We've had confidence in Manny all along," Walz said. "He was struggling, but we were struggling. Everyone said he was struggling, but they were getting three or four scoring chances every time. You can't expect him to make three or four saves in a row."
Both coaches were annoyed afterward by a sluggish flow to the game, directing most of their frustration toward the officials for not calling more holding penalties.
"When you're allowing teams to play the tight defensive checking style, that's what you are going to get," Canucks coach Marc Crawford said. "When you allow the interference and a lot of picks and holdups, that's the kind of game you have. It's not very entertaining. And it's all over the league."
Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire also felt his neutral-zone trap influenced some of the officials' calls.
"The trap is guys in position reacting to passes -- they don't hold," Lemaire said. "They have to react, so they don't have time to hold. If it's us, call it. I'm OK. I like to go by the rules. It was really frustrating to see when a guy has two hands on our guys' stick in front of the net and he can't get a shot. I don't like that."
Zholtok's goal changed things completely. The last time the teams played, Nov. 11 in St. Paul, Cloutier made 18 saves in a 5-0 shutout.
"The first goal was so important," Crawford said. "I thought we were real strong mentally tonight. A big part of their game is to frustrate their opponent."
Notes: Minnesota assigned C Roman Simicek to Houston of the AHL before the game. ... Pop group Hootie and the Blowfish, minus lead singer Darius Rucker, shouted the traditional "Let's Play Hockey!" chant to the crowd of 18,064. ... The Canucks complete a six-game roadtrip at Chicago on Wednesday. They're 2-3-1 so far, but dropped to 5-11 on the road with the loss.
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