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Raycroft spectacular, Antropov clutch as Leafs edge Flyers

Nov 7, 2006 - 3:12 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- Andrew Raycroft won the Calder Trophy in 2004. If he keeps this up, he might have to make room for some more hardware.

Raycroft made a host of outstanding stops and Nik Antropov picked an ideal time for his first goal of the season as the Toronto Maple Leafs skated to a 4-1 triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Acquired in an offseason trade with Boston, Raycroft made a season-high 40 saves, including 16 in a second period that was dominated by Philadelphia.

"Raycroft made some huge stops," Toronto's Hal Gill said. "He was right on with everything. I don't know how he stays on the puck sometimes when he's spread-eagle, but he gets the job done. That's a tough thing to do, to make it look as easy as he does sometimes."

Raycroft won Rookie of the Year honors in 2003-04, going 29-18-9 with three shutouts, a 2.05 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage. However, he is coming off a horrible campaign in which he went 8-19-2 with a 3.71 GAA and .879 save percentage while battling injuries.

"(Raycroft's) playing well," Toronto left wing Darcy Tucker said. "At the start of the season, everyone said he had a lot to prove. He's going out there and trying to prove it."

Raycroft turned aside all 17 shots he faced in the third period in allowing two goals or fewer for the fourth straight game and improving to 8-4-2 on the season.

"It's a good sign for us to get a win like that," Raycroft said. "We were able to gut it out tonight and get some big goals in the third."

Antropov, who had not scored in his first five games, snapped a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal with 12:48 remaining. He came charging in after defenseman Bryan McCabe put a shot on net and poked the loose puck past goaltender Antero Niittymaki.

"When I'm not scoring, I always get down on myself," said Antropov, who has scored at least 12 goals in each of the last three seasons. "But today I didn't and we came up with a big victory."

Alexei Ponikarovsky tallied with 3:54 remaining and blue-liner Tomas Kaberle capped the scoring with an empty-netter as the Maple Leafs won for the fifth time in six games.

Niittymaki finished with 28 saves as he singlehandedly kept the Flyers in the game during a first period in which they were outplayed badly. He did allow a goal 5:25 into the opening session when Bates Battaglia spun around in the left faceoff circle and fired a shot into the top right corner.

"(Niitymaki) kept us in the first period, I thought," Flyers captain Peter Forsberg said. "He played great. I thought we had a lot of chances in the second period to get the lead. There were a lot of pucks laying in the crease. I guess we're not a team with the best luck right now."

Ben Eager scored the lone goal for Philadelphia, which has lost four of its last five and has a league-low seven points on the young season. The Flyers went 0-for-7 with the power play to drop to a woeful 7-for-87 on the season.

"It's just not very good, obviously," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "We're having trouble scoring goals. It's nothing against Ben Eager, but when he's your only goal scorer, it's a concern."

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