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Goalie back on his feet

Raycroft rebounds after early mishap

It wasn't exactly the start Bruins goalie Andrew Raycroft was hoping for.

Just two minutes into the first period last night, Ottawa's Vaclav Varada raced toward the Boston goal with Dan McGillis in pursuit. Raycroft came out to cut down the angle but lost his footing and landed on his backside. As Raycroft struggled to get back on his skates, Varada swooped to the right past Raycroft and fired the puck in for the game's first goal.

"I don't know what happened there," said Raycroft after the Bruins and Senators skated to a 2-2 tie. "It [started with] a blocked shot at the [Ottawa] blue line. It just kept trickling, and everyone was a little indecisive. It was just a slip."

The puck was moving too slowly for Raycroft to get to it ahead of Varada, so he was attempting to get in a better position when the mishap occurred.

"It was a little too far to go out and get it," said Raycroft. "It was a pretty long skate. I was just going out to stop and play the breakaway, or whatever was going to come."

As odd as the play was, it wasn't the first time Raycroft wiped out unexpectedly.

"It actually happened last year to me once, but that was because my skates were horrible," said Raycroft.

The young goalie knew he would have to have a short memory if he was to help his team avoid a loss.

"It's 1-0, and unfortunately it was a cheesy one, but you've got to keep playing," said Raycroft. "Once it goes in, you just want to crawl into a hole, but at the same time, there's 57 minutes left, and it's 1-0."

Coach Mike Sullivan believed Raycroft and his teammates would bounce back.

"If anything, it should've inspired us," said Sullivan. "He's played so well for us and both of our goaltenders have bailed us out on a number of occasions throughout the course of the season, and that's what good goaltending does for teams. When something like that happens, from my standpoint, that should inspire our team to want to bail our goalie out."

Raycroft, who faced 12 shots in each of the first two periods, quickly regained his composure and came up with several big saves later in the period to keep the Bruins in the game.

"What are you going to do?" said Sullivan. "It was just an unfortunate mishap. He probably caught a rut. For my mind, it was really encouraging the way he responded. For a young goalie, he didn't get rattled. He stood right up and made some big saves for us right afterwards. So that's the type of person that Andrew is. He's a mature kid. I think he's a confident kid and he knows he's a good goalie."

Ex-Bruin Bryan Smolinski had an open look and fired a quick wrist shot midway through the second period, but Raycroft made a fine glove save. He also stopped a two-on-one when Martin Havlat broke in from the right and fed Chris Phillips, whose bid for a goal was denied.

"Ray's just been great all year," said captain Joe Thornton. "We know how much both of these goalies [Raycroft and Felix Potvin] bail us out and we wanted to bail him out tonight and we did that. We played a pretty good game."

The Senators' second goal came when Marian Hossa squeezed between defensemen Sean O'Donnell and Nick Boynton and managed to get a shot off from in front of the net. Raycroft made the initial save, but Ottawa's Wade Redden was able to get to the loose puck on the rebound and slip it through to even the score at 2-2 in the second period.

"I kind of got a piece of the rebound," said Raycroft. "It just kind of got under my stick and got under me. There were three or four guys, and I got bumped a little out of position. I just scrambled, but it trickled through."

There wouldn't be many more opportunities in regulation, as Ottawa managed just one shot in the third period, but the Senators managed to put five on goal in overtime. Raycroft was up for the challenge in the extra session.

"It's real tough as a goalie to just sit in net for 20 minutes and just face one shot from outside," said Raycroft of his inactive third period. "It makes it tough. Your legs get a little tired and a little heavy, but I was able to make a couple of saves and we were able to come out with a tie."

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