Avalanche-Maple Leafs: Andrew Raycroft Gets Roughed Up by Toronto

Dino MoriAnalyst IJanuary 30, 2009

There's something about the Toronto Maple Leafs that brings out the worst in Andrew Raycroft.

The Colorado Avalanche net minder was roughed up by his former team on Thursday as the Maple Leafs won for only the fourth time in 16 games with a 7-4 victory on Raycroft's new team in Denver.

Raycroft was facing the Maple Leafs for the first time since his contract was bought out by the club in the offseason. He gave up all seven goals on just 30 shots.

Two seasons ago, Raycroft tied a Toronto franchise record for most wins by a goaltender during the regular season with 37—a record previously held by Ed Belfour.

But the following year he became a backup to Vesa Toskala, who was acquired from the San Jose Sharks. Raycroft was then seen as the scapegoat for many Leaf fans that year, appearing in only 19 games and posting an ugly 2-9 record.

Heading into last night's contest, Raycroft was enjoying a productive season, despite the platoon situation with Peter Budaj—the other Avalanche goaltender. He was 9-5 with a goals against average of 2.71 and a save percentage of .905.

Not only was Raycroft taking a trip down memory lane against his ex-mates, so too was Raycroft's new teammate, Darcy Tucker.

Tucker, who spent eight seasons in the city he still calls home, was his usual agitating self. He jawed with the Maple Leafs' Jamal Mayers from his own bench during a first period verbal sparring match. The 33-year-old winger, who failed to register a point against the Maple Leafs, has just five goals and 11 points in 38 games this year. 

Dominic Moore scored twice and added one assist to lead the Maple Leafs' onslaught, while Jeff Finger, Mikhail Grabovski, Jason Blake, Matt Stajan, and Nik Antropov each contributed single tallies.

The opening goal of the game by Antropov—his first in 17 games—ended a woeful scoring drought for the lanky Kazakhstani forward.

Milan Hejduk finished with two goals, while Chris Stewart and John-Michael Liles each scored for Colorado.

Shortly after Blake put the Leafs ahead 5-4 at 4:56 left in the third period, Hejduk appeared to have tied the game to complete his hat-trick. However, teammate Ryan Smyth was called for goaltender interference and the goal was nullified.

Smyth argued he was pushed into Maple Leafs net minder Vesa Toskala by blue liner Luke Schenn and replays confirmed it. But the call stood, much to the dismay of the Avalanche faithful.

With the victory, Toronto improved to 18-23-8 on the season. They moved into an 11th place tie in the Eastern Conference with the Tampa Bay Lightning with 44 points.  

Colorado meanwhile fell to 23-25-1 and into a 12-place tie in the West, with the Los Angeles Kings at 47 points.

The Maple Leafs will play host to Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday in the Leafs' 50th game this season.