Thursday's three stars: Raycroft spelling relief for Avs

No. 1 star, Andrew Raycroft, Colorado Avalanche:
Look who is suddenly helping to solidify Colorado's tenuous goaltending situation. Andrew Raycroft improved to 8-1 on the season by stopping all but one of 44 shots directed his way by Chicago, including several big saves late during a frantic Blackhawks' push for a tying goal that never came. Raycroft's career-best 43 saves enabled him to win his second straight start since stepping in for the inconsistent Peter Budaj, this after Raycroft struggled to just a 2-9-5 record last year in Toronto.

No. 2 star, Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Ducks:
The 21-year-old right wing did all his damage during 2:21 spanning late in the second and early in the third periods. That's when he made some team history by scoring three times to become the first Anaheim skater to collect a hat trick during a rookie season. Ryan's barrage single-handedly brought the Ducks all the way back from a 3-0 deficit. He has 15 points in his last 10 games, including seven of his 11 goals during the same span.

No. 3 star, Kari Lehtonen, Atlanta Thrashers:
The 25-year-old netminder stopped 29 shots first his first shutout of the season, an impressive one since it came on the road against a quality opponent in New Jersey. Lehtonen spearheaded a 7-for-7 effort by the Thrashers' penalty killers to earn the 12th shutout of his career.

Honorable mention: Rookie Kyle Turris scored the game-winner to enable the Coyotes to beat the Lighting for the first time in nearly eight years. … Boston's Marc Savard enjoyed a three-point night to boost his team-lead point total to 52 during his 700th career game. … The Flyers returned home for the first time since Dec. 23 to win and move into first place in the Atlantic Division. Who here thought that was possible so soon after Philly's atrocious start? … Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom ran his shutout streak to 149:09 before getting dented in Philly. … Detroit, winners for the fifth straight time, have 11 skaters with 20 or more points. … With a goal and two assists, Andrei Kostitsyn has now scored at least one goal in six of Montreal's last seven games. … Jay Bouwmeester celebrated an All-Star selection earlier in the day by scoring the game-winning goal for Florida at night. … The Predators spotted the Penguins three goals and then scored five unanswered to win. … Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff registered his league-leading 25th win with a 24-save effort during a 12th straight start. … During the first stoppage following an earthquake felt at Staples Center, the audio crew in Los Angeles piped in Carole King's "I Feel The Earth Move (Under My Feet)."

Dishonorable mention: Ottawa's glitz and glamour line of Dany Heatley-Jason Spezza-Daniel Alfredsson combined for a minus-10 showing in Boston. Looks like the Sens are trying to get someone fired. … The Devils have been shut out on home ice four times this season. … Both Pittsburgh and Los Angeles coughed up 3-0 leads. The difference being at least the Kings still won. Not so for the quickly disappearing Penguins. … Minnesota's power play, a point of pride for coach Jacques Lemaire, was 0-for-7 in Philadelphia. … Marty Turco may have enjoyed success at the University of Michigan, but he hasn't had much fun during his return visits to the state. Yanked during Dallas' blowout loss, Turco fell to 0-8-2 as a Star at Joe Louis Arena and 3-11-5 overall vs. Detroit.

Copyright PuckD - Puck Daddy
Contact Us