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Raycroft, Top Line Leading The Way

by Jeff Jacobson / Colorado Avalanche
Andrew Raycroft may be the Avs’ secret weapon. With the Avalanche’s 5-3 win over Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon, the team has now won three straight, with Raycroft in net for each.

Raycroft set a career high by winning seven consecutive starts, beating his previous best of six. He is 7-0 with a 2.11 GAA and .928 Sv% during this stretch (427 mins, 208 shots, 15 GA). Improving to 9-1-0 on the season, he becomes just the second goaltender in franchise history to open a season by winning nine of his first 10 decisions.

“I feel good out there,” Raycroft said after the win Saturday. “It feels like I have good rhythm. I feel like I’m seeing everything and seeing the plays well. It’s been a good week and we got another big win tonight.”

Raycroft is the first Avalanche goaltender to win seven straight games since David Aebischer from Jan. 3-17, 2006 and currently has the highest winning percentage (.900) of any NHL goaltender that has appeared in at least 10 games this season.

Granato’s New Mix
Head coach Tony Granato seems to have found the spark the Avs needed. The line combination of Milan Hejduk, Ryan Smyth and Wojtek Wolski led the Avs to victory on Saturday. The trio combined for a total of five points on two goals and three assists. Over the past three games, they have accounted for 15 points (6g/9a).

Putting in a go-ahead goal in the second period, Wolski has now scored in each of his last three games (4 total), matching his career-long goal-scoring streak set Dec. 23-29, 2006.

“When you’re missing your top two players, other guys have to pick it up,” Wolski commented.  “We know we have to work harder now. We have to somehow find a way. That way is just work ethic, getting pucks in deep, going to the net and finishing checks. We seem to be doing that very well right now.”

Smyth tallied his team-leading 14th goal of the season today and now has 298 career goals, two shy of the 300 mark. His two points and Hejduk’s assist against the Penguins now have them tied with Paul Stastny for the team scoring lead with 31 points.
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