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Fernandez Continues to be Fantastic

Sunday, 12.21.2008 / 1:00 PM / Features
By Angela Latona  - Intern | BostonBruins.com
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Fernandez Continues to be Fantastic
Boston, MA -- Despite extending their home win streak to 13 against the Hurricanes Saturday afternoon, Bruins goaltender Manny Fernandez said he doesn't pay much attention to the significance of the numbers.

He just shows up to play.

"Every night is a different challenge, every night is a different story," Fernandez said after the Bruins 4-2 win over Carolina. "I just keep turning the page over and start from scratch again."

Manny & Tim
And it is working for Fernandez, who made 32 saves on the night en route to his tenth win.

Fernandez has been in rotation with fellow Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, but Bruins coach Claude Julien said a hot streak by either man could secure that backstop more time between the pipes.

"I'm just going game-by-game." Julien said before Saturday's contest. "I think I will make my decision for tomorrow after [Saturday's] game.

"It could be either-or."

While it remains uncertain as to who will start tonight in St. Louis, Fernandez has certainly bounced back from his injury-shortened season in 2007-08. The netminder has a 2.02 goals-against average (good for second in the league in GAA) and a .928 save percentage (fifth overall).

Of course Thomas, one of the league's best this season and an all-star last season, is right there with a 2.15 GAA (fourth overall) and .932 Sv% (third). Together, the two B's keepers have become the premier goaltending tandem in the league.

Fernandez has been in successful tandems before. While with the Minnesota Wild In 2007 he and Niklas Backstrom shared the William Jennings Trophy for lowest goals against, so Fernandez knows how important the Bruins rotation may be in the long run.

For instance, when Thomas let in five goals in two periods on Thursday against the Maple Leafs, Fernandez jumped into action during the third period.

"We have all had those nights," said Fernandez on Thursday. "I saw him shaking his head, and I know exactly what he is thinking. A simple nod and I told him that there are nights like these, and he agrees.

"You try not to have them [often] in the stretch of the season," he said. "It is uncomfortable; it hits a skate, it hits a stick, you can’t control and it ends up in the net. There are nights like that but you just have to turn the page and get back to work and get better the next game."

“Everybody goes through that,” said Coach Julien after practice on Friday, “Manny was in a groove during the third period and made some key saves for us.

“But that’s part of the process you go through during the season and you’ll probably see Timmy come in and help out Manny at some point this year, as well.”

Fernandez said as much on Saturday and felt the club had rebounded from an uneven performance earlier in the week.

"You aren't going to go through a stretch of 82 games without a mistake," Fernandez said. "We knew that [Saturday's game against Carolina] was going to be a tight game going into the third and we thought that was a great challenge for us; we haven't played in too many of those."

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