Raycroft leads his Dallas Stars to seventh connsecutive road victory

Gouche

Looking back the best thing for Andrew Raycroft might have been leaving the Toronto Maple Leafs. Raycroft, who won the Calder Trophy in 2004 with the Boston Bruins saw his stock take a drastic dip when he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs during the summer of 2006. After winning 37 games in his first year as a Leaf, Raycroft was demoted to the backup position the following season and in 19 games struggled badly with a 2-5-9 record and a .876 save percentage. During that campaign Raycroft took a lot of heat from the Toronto fans and media alike. Once leaving Toronto Raycroft has bounced around with the Colorado Avalanche andVancouver Canucks before re-capturing his old magic with the Dallas Stars this season. On Sunday night, Raycroft stopped 26 shots in leading his team to a 4-0 win against the Minnesota Wild. On the season Raycroft has been nothing short of stellar as he now holds a 8-3-0 record with two shutouts and a 2.05 GAA. “I think we’re at the point now where we truly believe what we’re doing,” Raycroft whose team has now won seven straight on the road said. “If we play it strong defensively, we have more than enough guys to make plays up front to win games.” Dallas, who are now third in the Western Conference with 55 points got a two goal performance from forward Jamie Benn along with singles from Trevor Daley and James Neal. Heading into play, the Wild were on a roll as they posted a 8-2-1 record in their last 11 games but have struggled with a 1-6-3 mark in the seconddd of back-to-back games. The Wild who are coming off a 4-0 Saturday night win against the Pitsburgh Penguins have now slipped to .500 at home with a 10-10-2 record. “No excuses at all,” Wild coach Todd Richards said. “There was a way to win the game tonight, and we weren’t able to execute that. Our tanks were low, but I think that’s when you have to play a smart game. The first thing to go when fatigue sets in is your mind, and we did some uncharacteristic things, as far as how we’ve been playing hockey.” Meanwhile Raycroft has really seemed to have found his niche in Dallas as he is now won four in a row on the road while posting a 1.69 GAA and a .949 save percentage during that time. “Guys have lots of confidence in him,” Stars coach Marc Crawford said. “They like him. They know he works hard, and it’s a little factor but people wanting to play that extra bit harder when they’re in front of you makes a big difference,” Crawford said. “Our goaltending’s been strong all year. We haven’t had very many nights where we’ve scratched our heads.”

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