I hate to say it, but when the Dallas Stars signed Andrew Raycroft to back up Kari Lehtonen, I couldn’t help but cackle. The way I saw it, the Stars were backing up the most injury prone starter in the league with a guy who didn’t really seem like he deserved another shot at remaining in the NHL. (Even if he was pretty solid in Vancouver last season, it seemed like he wouldn’t ever regain his Calder Trophy form from many seasons past.)
Simply put, Raycroft is high on the (sadly large) list of “things I was completely wrong about” regarding the 2010-11 season. While he hasn’t seen the ice very often thanks to Lehtonen’s workhorse tendencies, Raycroft has been absolutely outstanding with the few opportunities he’s been given.
Raycroft is 4-2-0 with a 93.7 save percentage and a 1.90 goals against average so far this season.
For the most part, Raycroft is doing so well by being a minimalist goalie. Usually he just makes the first save in the least dramatic way possible and holds onto the puck for a whistle whenever in doubt.
But you don’t earn a save of the night award by doing the ordinary. Raycroft made an absolutely astounding glove save in overtime to keep the Stars in their hard-fought game with the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday. Dallas ended up winning the game via a shootout largely because of Raycroft’s outstanding play.
(Then again, Raycroft also earned the December 8th save of the night, so maybe he’ll make this a habit …)