Saturday, January 10, 2009

Raycroft Shines, Will Start Today vs Penguins

I was very nervous. Afterall, I had just dedicated an entire post to why Andrew Raycroft should be the starter. Now here he was, facing the highest scoring team in the NHL. The situation wasn't on his (or my) side.

43 saves against 44 shots later, Andrew Raycroft has lived to start another day.

He was brilliant against Chicago, making save after save against a very potent attack. Albeit, he did get lucky a few times, but Raycroft was very solid and gave the Avs a chance to win.

Which they did.

Ryan Smyth scored the first goal of the game after the review in Toronto said he did not intent to kick the puck into the net.

The Blackhawks tied it up in the second on a nice screen/deflection in front of Raycroft. It would go down as his only blunder.

In the third, Colorado broke the tie thanks to the now super-hot Wojtek Wolski. He has been getting major props since he became a center and he certainly deserves them. I can't believe we wasted this guy on the wing all these years.

The last minute of the game was a crazy flurry in the Avs end. The Avalanche couldn't seem to clear the puck and only when Raycroft smothered a shot from the point did the game seem safe to celebrate.

Much credit has to go to the defense. They played well for most of the game and really helped Raycroft out with his rebounds.

Also, the forechecking was great. There was one playing in the game where Chris Stewart was almost acting as "monkey in the middle" when he refused to allow the two Chicago defenseman to advance the puck out of their zone.

Good win. Fun win. Go Raycroft.

Now we look to today.

Raycroft will be starting against the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens are 3-7-0 in their last ten and have dropped to 10th place in the Eastern Conference.

Struggling or not, going up against Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby is no easy task.

I wonder if Brett McLean has any old friends on the Avs...

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