January 31, 2009
Sorry mates. I wanted to write this post on Friday, but I was stuck up on cloud nine. I don't know about you, but in the aftermath of the beating the Maple Leafs laid on Andrew Raycroft, I was beaming. It just felt great to be alive.
Seven goals. On 30 shots. A truly Raycroftian performance. And I enjoyed every bloody minute of it.
I took in the festivities at a local establishment. I was hoping for the best, but prepared for the worst (read: I was drinking). Thankfully, in a 4-4 game, Raycroft did in the third period what he does best: suck.
Now, let's not kid ourselves. A goaltending duel the game most certainly was not. Raycroft made only 23 saves, while Vesa Toskala was whorishly bad as well, getting in front of only 16 of the 20 shots he faced.
But, like I wrote about in my previous post, Thursday night wasn't about the Vesa. He was awful (I think Cujo - Cujo! - could have stopped that Hejduk wraparound in the second period), but Raycroft was even sluttier.
Of course, as is the case when any team plays Raycrap, slumps were broken. Nik Antropov scored for the first time in 17 games, Mickey Grabs got off the snide after 12, and Matt Stajan scored his first goal in eight contests. Hell, even Jeff Finger got in on the act. And, don't look now, but Jason Blake, with another three points, is a point away from becoming Toronto's leading scorer this season.
Andrew Raycroft: the greatest slump-breaker in the game today. If only the Leafs could play against him more often.
Thanks to the Maple Leafs, Raycroft's goals against average now sits at 3.01, and his save percentage is back where it belongs, below the .900 threshold, at .895. Way to make me proud, boys. And way to get up for the big game, Andrew.
You know, Thursday night's game might have been the highlight of the season for me. By the time it was all said and done, I was in my happy place. So much so that I picked up the tab for the boys. It had to be done. It was a celebration - or rather, vindication - after all.