MONTREAL (AP)—The Boston Bruins are cornering the market on rookie of the year candidates.
Raycroft, selected to represent the Eastern Conference alongside teammate Patrice Bergeron in the NHL’s Young Stars game next Saturday during the All-Star festivities, turned aside 34 shots for his second shutout—Boston’s third—in January.
Raycroft, who improved to 17-12-6, is gaining consideration for the Calder Trophy, the award that goes to the top rookie and for which Bergeron was an early favorite.
“We’re not thinking about it too much,” Raycroft said. “It’s kind of been brought up a little bit lately, but we’re just trying to get wins here. I get to watch Patrice every day in practice and see how skilled he is. You know, I like to be modest.”
Murray, who scored both goals in a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders on Thursday to reach 500 career points, scored on a power play early in the second.
Boston, extended its unbeaten streak to three despite being outshot 34-16. The Bruins, currently on a 5-1-1 run on the road, are 10-3-2 overall after going winless in eight.
“I think we just got back to playing the way we know we could play at the beginning of the season,” Murray said of the turnaround. “We weren’t getting the breaks and we weren’t playing smart. We’ve got a few guys back from injury now and we’re playing as a team. We’re really playing as a team and our special teams have picked up a little bit.”
The Canadiens, whose best scoring chances were a pair of shots that hit the post, lost for the fourth time in five games.
“We threw a lot of shots at (Raycroft) and he responded to all of them,” Canadiens rookie Michael Ryder said. “And we hit a couple of posts. I guess that’s the goalie’s luck, but unfortunately we couldn’t get the bounce tonight.”
Both teams host matinee games Sunday, including the Bruins, who have a 1:00 p.m. start against Pittsburgh leading into the hometown New England Patriots’ Super Bowl appearance later in the day against Carolina in Houston.
“Maybe we should push our game up to 10 o’clock or something because the Super Bowl’s at 6:30,” Murray said. “Hopefully the fans will be there before they go out for their Super Bowl party.”
Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore lost his fourth straight start despite stopping 15 of 16 shots.
Theodore came up with a pair of saves on Bruins captain Joe Thornton while Montreal was short two men for 1:42 midway through the first.
Ryder, who will be Raycroft’s teammate next Saturday, hit the post later in the period, which ended with Montreal defenseman Sheldon Souray stepping into captain Saku Koivu’s squabble with the Bruins’ Sean O’Donnell.
Souray spent the first 17 minutes of the second in the penalty box for an instigating minor, a misconduct and a fighting major.
“I’ve been benched for longer than that,” Souray said, joking. “It’s tough, though. You just totally get out of the groove. I didn’t think I was going to get that many minutes.”
Montreal drew the additional minor penalty and Murray took advantage of the power-play opportunity, scoring 57 seconds into the second off a pass from Nick Boynton. The goal came 16 seconds after a Boston penalty expired.
The Canadiens missed another scoring opportunity in the third when defenseman Andrei Markov’s slap shot from the point was deflected by YanicPerreault, but the shot struck the post.
Raycroft got his second shutout on Jan. 10 in an 8-0 win in Pittsburgh. The Bruins’ other shutout this month on Jan. 15, when G Felix Potvin got his 31st career shutout in a 1-0 win. … Canadiens C Steve Begin returned to the lineup after missing 23 games because of a shoulder injury. … LW PierreDagenais was also back after serving a two-game suspension.