Andrew Raycroft

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Posted by motoman 04/14/2009 @ 09:09

Tags : andrew raycroft, hockey players, hockey, sports

News headlines
Bruins' Thomas claws his way to the top - Providence Journal
He was there to replace both P-Bruins goaltenders Andrew Raycroft and Jeff Maund at the end of the regular season. Thomas lasted only one practice because he blew out his knee. It seemed like something was always holding him back....
Sources: Roy has offer to coach Avs - 9NEWS.com
Their two goal-tenders - Peter Budaj and Andrew Raycroft - are unsigned for next season, and the team likely will have only $10 million to $12 million to spend on filling out the roster. Currently, 14 regulars have contracts for next season at a...
Colorado Avalanche off season coverage...report card for the front ... - Examiner.com
Andrew Raycroft was signed with the hopes of bolstering the goal tending after Jose Theodore was not retained even though The Avs and Jose were less than one million apart during negotiations. What followed was one of the worst goalie tandems in recent...
Quinn, Ferguson for next Wild GM? - Sportsnet.ca
If I'm Andrew Raycroft I'm rooting for Fergie.he's the only hope that a slug like Raycroft gets another kick at the can. And for a Fergie deal of 3.5 mil per season. Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel! Gone are the days of Pat Quinn style...
A Quick Look at the Canucks' Cap Situation - Nucks Misconduct
COLORADO AVALANCHE: Tyler Arnason, Ian Laperriere, Andrew Raycroft, Joe Sakic. DALLAS STARS: Steve Begin, Jere Lehtinen, Brendan Morrison, Mark Parrish, Darryl Sydor, Sergei Zubov. FLORIDA PANTHERS: Craig Anderson, Jay Bouwmeester, Nick Boynton,...
Moving Targets - Edmonton Sun
Colorado: C Joe Sakic; C Tyler Arnason; RW Ian Laperriere; RW Brian Willsie; D Daniel Tjarnqvist; D Lawrence Nycholat; G Andrew Raycroft. Columbus: C Jason Williams; C Michael Peca; C Manny Malholtra; C Chris Gratton; D Christian Backman;...
Emery? Flyers can't be serious - Cherry Hill Courier Post
And there are just as many question marks, like Kari Lehtnonen, 25, Mikael Tellqvist, 29, Andrew Raycroft, 29, Scott Clemmensen, 31, and Joey MacDonald, 29. Compared to those alternatives, Biron doesn't look so bad....
Maurice's return catalyst for Canes' turnaround - National Post
1 goaltender in Andrew Raycroft who rarely lived up to the title. Toronto missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons, and Maurice was fired last May. It is different in Carolina, under Rutherford. The team has a talented core, led by centre Eric Staal,...
Final Grade: Francois Giguere - Mile High Hockey
Giguere also made some good sub-million depth-signings - Andrew Raycroft, Daniel Tjarnqvist, Brian Willsie as well as bringing in depth for Lake Erie (Aaron MacKenzie, Chris Durno, etc). For the 2nd straight year, Giguere made a move to bring over an...
Season over, but work just beginning for Flames - Ottawa Citizen
Open-market options (all of whom had 2008-09 contracts of $1 million or less): Mathieu Garon, Brent Johnson, Jason LaBarbera, Mikael Tellqvist, Andrew Raycroft, Craig Anderson, Scott Clemmensen, Joey MacDonald, Ty Conklin, Tobias Stephan....

Andrew Raycroft

Andrew Joseph Ernest Raycroft (born May 4, 1980) is a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender currently playing for the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League (NHL). He attended Nicholson Catholic College in Belleville during the majority of his high school tenure.

Prior to entering the junior hockey ranks, Raycroft grew up playing minor hockey with the Quinte Red Devils AAA (OMHA) system in the Eastern Ontario AAA League.

Raycroft played for the Kingston Frontenacs and Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). He also played for the Wellington Dukes of the OPJAHL.

Raycroft was drafted 135th overall by the Boston Bruins in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. In his first full-season with the Bruins in 2003-2004, he compiled a 29-18-9 record with a goals against average (GAA) of 2.05, a save percentage of .926 and three shutouts to help lead the Bruins to a second-place finish in the regular season in the Eastern Conference. Raycroft was rewarded for his efforts with the Calder Trophy, awarded annually to the league's top rookie.

He struggled with the Boston Bruins in the 2005-06 season, managing only 8 wins, losing the starter and backup goalie jobs to new starting goalie Tim Thomas and new backup rookie goalie Hannu Toivonen. He would be a healthy scratch for the rest of that season. On June 24, 2006, Raycroft was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for the rights to Finnish goaltending prospect Tuukka Rask. He began playing for the Maple Leafs in the 2006-07 season and earned his first shutout (and his first win) as a Leaf in a 6-0 win against the Ottawa Senators on October 5. On April 3, 2007, Raycroft tied the Leafs' franchise record for most wins by a goaltender in the regular season (37), previously held by Ed Belfour in 2002-03. However, he played more games than Belfour and earned three shootout wins, which did not exist prior to the 2005-06 season.

Raycroft struggled at the start of the 2007-2008 season, and Vesa Toskala became the Leafs' starting goaltender. The Leafs placed him on waivers on June 24, and bought out the remainder of his contract on June 27, 2008. On July 1, he signed a one-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche, where he backs up Peter Budaj.

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Tim Thomas (ice hockey)

Tim thomas.JPG

Timothy Thomas, Jr. (born April 15, 1974), nicknamed The Tank, is an American professional ice hockey goaltender for the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League (NHL). Raised in Davison, Michigan, Thomas played college hockey for the University of Vermont for four years from 1993–1997, during which, he was drafted 217th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. He played for several years in the minor leagues and Europe before emerging as the Boston Bruins' starting goaltender. He, along with Manny Fernandez, is the current holder of the William M. Jennings Trophy.

Thomas played four seasons (1993-97) of college hockey for the University of Vermont, posting an 81-43-15 record to go with a 2.70 GAA and .924 save percentage and remains second in the NCAA Division I record book in career saves (3,950). He led the nation in save percentage in 1996 (.924) and helped the Catamounts to NCAA tournament appearances in his final two seasons, including a berth in the 1996 NCAA Frozen Four (a program first). He was a two-time All-ECAC Conference selection and a two-time NCAA East All-American. He ranks first all-time amongst Vermont goalies in games played (140), wins (81), and minutes played (3950). After his freshman year, Thomas was drafted 217th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft.

Completing his four-year tenure with Vermont, Thomas played briefly for the Birmingham Bulls of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) and Houston Aeros of the International Hockey League (IHL) in 1997–98, before transferring overseas mid-season to HIFK of the SM-Liiga. Thomas played 18 games with a save percentage of .947 as the team advanced through the playoffs to defeat Ilves in the finals and win the Finnish championship. After signing with the Edmonton Oilers on June 4, 1998, Thomas initially returned to the AHL the following season with the Hamilton Bulldogs, where he played 15 games, before again transferring to HIFK. Thomas recorded a .917 save percentage in 14 games as HIFK made it to the league finals once more but finished as runners-up to TPS.

In 1999–00, Thomas returned once again to North America to play for the Detroit Vipers of the IHL, then spent the next season with AIK of the Elitserien. Thomas was very popular among the fans and was an important factor for bringing the team to the playoffs for the first time in four years. During regular season, Thomas played 43 games with a save percentage of .918.

In 2001, Thomas joined the Boston Bruins organization, but chose to continue playing in Europe, spending his first full SM-liiga season in 2001–02 with Kärpät. Although the team didn't get far in the playoffs, Thomas played a successful season of 32 games with a .925 save percentage. Beginning in 2002–03, Thomas played his initial two seasons with Boston's AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins. He made his National Hockey League (NHL) debut with the Bruins during the 2002–03 season, appearing in four games total, with a .907 save percentage and a 3-1 record. Thomas recorded his first NHL win in his league debut with the Bruins on October 19, 2002, in a 31-save, 4–3 win against the Edmonton Oilers.

In 2004–05, Thomas joined Jokerit of the SM-Liiga, his fourth stint in Finland. He played in all games of the season except one, 54 games in total, and racked up a league-high .946 save percentage. He also surpassed the previous record of 13 shutouts in the league by achieving 15 shutouts during the regular season. Thomas continued to perform in the playoffs, where he played 12 games with a .938 save percentage. The team was unable to defeat Kärpät in the finals, however, and Thomas was awarded his second silver medal in the SM-liiga. He received the Lasse Oksanen trophy (as the league's best player) and the Kultainen kypärä award (as the league's best player award as voted by the players), becoming the first Jokerit player to win the award since Teemu Selänne.

In August 2005, Thomas signed on to play with Jokerit for the 2005-06 season, but his contract included an NHL option, and on September 14, one day before the regular season in the SM-liiga started, Thomas announced he had signed with the Boston Bruins, leaving Jokerit with rookie goaltender Joonas Hallikainen as their sole goaltender. Eventually Jokerit used three North American goaltenders (Karl Goehring, Steve Passmore and Tom Askey) that season but missed the playoffs. When he returned to North America, he was assigned to Providence of the AHL out of training camp. However, as Boston suffered injuries to their two goalies Andrew Raycroft and Hannu Toivonen, Thomas earned his first call-up to the NHL in 3 years and took over as the Bruins starting goalie, with a 12–13–7 record, 2.77 goals against average (GAA), .917 save percentage, and his first NHL shutout to complete the 2005–06 season. As a result, Thomas was awarded the Boston Bruins 7th Player Award, voted by the fans as having gone beyond expectations. In the off-season, Thomas was re-signed by the Bruins to a 3-year deal.

Although Boston's previous starter, Andrew Raycroft was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the off-season, Thomas began the 2006–07 season as the Bruins' backup, behind Hannu Toivonen instead. However, as Toivonen struggled, Thomas was again promoted as the Bruins' starting goaltender, posting a 30–29–4 record with a .904 save percentage. He won the 7th Player Award for the second consecutive season and became the first goalie in team history to win the award twice.

During the summer of 2007 Thomas began a yoga-based physical conditioning program to increase his flexibility and strength, a concept that would greatly increase his abilities during the 2007-08 NHL season and onwards.

On July 1, 2007, the Bruins acquired goaltender Manny Fernandez from the Minnesota Wild, and later traded Thomas' previous backup, Toivonen, to the St. Louis Blues. Many hockey analysts presumed that Thomas would support Fernandez as a backup goaltender once again for the 2007–08 season. However, as Fernandez went down to injury early in the season, Thomas seized the opportunity and once again emerged as the Bruins' starting goalie. He was selected to his first NHL All-Star Game on January 22, 2008 as a replacement for Martin Brodeur and played in the third period of the game, stopping 14 of 18 shots. Thomas was attributed the win, as the Eastern Conference defeated the Western Conference 8-7.

Early in the 2008–09 season, Thomas became the first Bruins goalie to record back-to-back shutouts since Byron Dafoe in 1999, winning 1-0 games against the Edmonton Oilers on October 27, 2008 and the Vancouver Canucks on October 28. His overall shutout streak came to end the next game at 154:43 minutes in against the Calgary Flames on October 30. In late November, Thomas missed a few games due to an illness. He was chosen to play in his second All-Star Game in 2009, and was once again the winning goaltender for the Eastern Conference, beating the Western Conference 12–11 in a shootout (the first time the All-Star Game required the tie-breaker since 2005). A month later, on February 26, 2009, Thomas recorded his 100th NHL win, in a 6–0 shutout against Anaheim Ducks.

On April 2, 2009 Thomas agreed to a four-year extension with the Bruins, through to the 2012–13 season. The contract will see him make $6 million the first two seasons, then $5 million and $3 million the final two seasons for an average annual salary of $5 million. Two days later, on April 4, he posted his career-high fifth shutout of the season in a 1–0 win against the New York Rangers, clinching top spot in the Eastern Conference, Boston's first title since 2001–02.

During Thomas' college career, with the University of Vermont, he was named to Team USA twice for the World Championships. Following his sophomore year, he was chosen for the 1995 World Championships, but did not appear in any games as the United States finished in sixth place. He was chosen for the tournament for the second consecutive year in 1996 and made his international debut, playing in 21 minutes for one game, allowing one goal. Thomas picked up his first medal as the United States won bronze.

Graduated from the college program, Thomas was named to Team USA for the 1998 World Championships after his rookie professional season and played his first full international game. However, the United States finished a disappointing twelfth. Thomas would not make another World Championships appearance until 2005, where was named to Team USA in another limited role, not appearing in any games behind starter Rick DiPietro as they failed to medal.

Established as an NHL starter following the 2007–08 NHL season, Thomas was named to his fifth World Championships in 2008. He appeared in three games, splitting starts with Robert Esche and posted a 1.50 GAA with one shutout against Latvia in the preliminaries. Team USA finished in sixth.

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2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs

2004 Stanley Cup playoffs logo

The 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs for the National Hockey League began on April 7, 2004, following the 2003–04 regular season. The playoffs ended with the Tampa Bay Lightning securing the Stanley Cup with a seven-game series win over the Calgary Flames on June 7. It was Tampa Bay's first Stanley Cup victory. It was the Flames' third final appearance, as they came this far in 1986 and 1989, winning the latter. The sixteen qualified teams, eight from each conference, played best-of-seven games for conference quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. The winner of each conference proceeded to the Stanley Cup Finals. The format was identical to the one introduced for the 1999 playoffs.

These playoffs marked the first time the Nashville Predators qualified, being in their seventh season in the NHL. The future champions from Tampa Bay saw playoff action for the third time, while the Colorado Avalanche made their ninth straight post-season appearance.

These are the top five goaltenders based on either goals against average or save percentage with at least four games played.

In 2004, the Tampa Bay Lightning had won the Southeast Division. They entered these playoffs with high hopes that they could win their first ever Stanley Cup. For the Isles, it was a struggle just to make the post season.

The highly favoured Lightning met up with the Islanders who, under rookie head coach Steve Stirling, had a respectable 91 points. Good enough for eighth spot in the conference. The Lightning led the Southeast Division for the whole year, finishing with their highest point total ever. Martin St. Louis finished with his best season. He led the league in scoring with 94 points. The Islanders won the season series 3–1, and it was thought that this might be a tough task for the Lightning.

Games 1 and 2, at St. Pete Times Forum in St. Petersburg, saw goalies Nikolai Khabibulin of the Lightning and Rick DiPietro of the Islanders trade 3–0 shutouts, with Tampa Bay winning Game 1 and New York winning Game 2.

The series turned to Nassau Coliseum in New York for Games 3 and 4, and Khabibulin all but put up a wall in front of the net: the Lightning won both games 3–0, Khabibulin's GAA for the series was a tidy 0.75 through the first four games, and Khabibulin stopped all 61 shots he saw in New York. Back in Florida for Game 5, Khabibulin allowed his first goals in three games, but Martin St. Louis scored the game-winner four minutes into overtime. For the Islanders, this was the second straight season they had lost in the first round after splitting the first two games on the road.

In 2002, the top seeded Bruins were upset by the lower seeded Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs. It was a humiliating defeat. This series featured the same result, as the Bruins were once again upset by the lower seeded Canadiens.

The Bruins recent history was marked by playoff collapses. They beat the Hurricanes in 1999, but since then had not won a playoff series. To change their luck, Mike Sullivan was hired to be the coach, and he led his team to a division title. They had relied on the stellar play of goaltender Andrew Raycroft all season. For the Canadiens, the playoffs were long overdue. They had only made the playoffs 3 times in last 7 seasons. The two teams had the same amount of wins (41) during the season, and Habs coach Claude Julien told his team to remember that his team was not very different from the Bruins.

Games 1 and 2 at FleetCenter in Boston saw the Bruins win two low-scoring games, winning Game 1, 3–0, behind a 31-save shutout from goalie Andrew Raycroft. Raycroft was almost as good in Game 2, allowing one goal, but Boston won the game anyway, 2–1.

Down 2–0 in the series, but home at the Bell Centre, Montreal won Game 3, 3–2. But, the Canadiens were pushed to the brink with a painful double-overtime 4–3 loss in Game 4. Montreal was in trouble. If they were to advance, they had to win the next three games before losing one, and two of the three games were in Boston.

The Canadiens bounced back from the double-overtime loss with a 5–1 Game 5 victory, scoring three third-period goals to break open a close game. Energized by home-ice advantage and their temporary staving off of elimination, Montreal forced a Game 7 with a 5–2 Game 6 victory. Montreal completed the stunning comeback with a 2–0 victory in Game 7 in Boston, as goalie Jose Theodore went a perfect 32-for-32 in save attempts.

For the Bruins, it meant another playoff disappointment. They would miss the playoffs in 2006. As for the Canadiens, they would move on to face the Tampa Bay Lightning, where they were swept in 4 games.

Game 1 of the series at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia saw the Flyers win, 3–2. Game 2 saw another well-played, close game, with Philadelphia again winning, 3–2. Game 3 at Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey saw the first game of the series not decided by one goal, a 4–2 Devils victory. With a chance to tie the series heading back to Philadelphia, the New Jersey attack was completely stonewalled by Flyers goalie Robert Esche in a 3–0 shutout victory for the Flyers. Esche had 35 saves. Back in Philadelphia for Game 5, the Flyers finished off the Devils with a 3–1 victory.

The 4–5 matchup in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals was billed as the Battle of Ontario. The Senators would have had home ice advantage, however on the final day of the regular season, the Maple Leafs routed Ottawa 6–0. Therefore giving the Leafs the higher seeding. Game 1, at Toronto's Air Canada Centre, saw Ottawa pull out a 4–2 victory. Needing a victory to avoid going down two games to Ottawa, the Maple Leafs came through with 2–0 win on the strength of a 31-save shutout by Ed Belfour.

Game 3 of the series shifted venue to Ottawa's Corel Centre, but the teams shouldn't have bothered playing the game if they wanted a different result: Toronto again won, 2–0, behind another Belfour shutout, and this time Belfour stopped 37 shots. Ottawa finally broke through the wall Belfour had put up in net, winning Game 4, 4–1.

With the series back in Toronto for a crucial Game 5, Belfour posted his third shutout of the series in yet another 2–0 Toronto victory. A clear indication of the strength of the Toronto defense, and the Senators bleak offense. With a chance to knock out the Senators on the road in Game 6, Ottawa won, 2–1, double-overtime victory. The series went back to Toronto for the third time, this time for a Game 7. Toronto relied on what brought them the first three victories of the series: goalie Belfour, who all but denied Ottawa's offense in a 4–1, series-clinching win. Lalime gave up 2 questionable goals by Joe Nieuwendyk before being pulled after the first period and replaced by backup Martin Prusek by head coach Jacques Martin.

At Detroit's Joe Louis Arena for Game 1, the Red Wings shook off a slow start and got goals from Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom and Robert Lang and posted a 3–1 victory. Game 2 saw a closer game, but Detroit still won the game, 2–1 on Mathieu Schneider's game winning goal.

However, at Nashville's Gaylord Entertainment Center for Games 3 and 4, Nashville made it a series by taking both games, tying the series 2–2 headed back to Detroit. After a 3–1 Game 3 victory, Nashville one-upped themselves with a 3–0 Game 4 victory as goalie Tomas Vokoun posted a 37-save shutout. Game 4 also saw Detroit goalie Manny Legace being yanked in favor of Curtis Joseph.

Back in Detroit for Game 5, Joseph got the start in goal for the Red Wings, and the decision paid off: the Red Wings dominated the Predators, winning 4–1. When the series returned to Nashville for Game 6, Joseph shut out the Predators to end their season in a 2–0 victory. It was a relatively easy victory for Joseph, as the Red Wings defense allowed only 15 Predator shots on goal.

The Sharks had made the playoffs for the first time since missing them the previous season. For the Blues, it was a struggle just to make the post season. They fired coach Joel Quenneville at the risk of missing the playoffs for the first time in half a century. Assistant coach Mike Kitchen was promoted to interim coach, and under him the Blues posted a 10–7–4 record, good enough for a playoff berth.

In St. Louis at the Savvis Center for Game 3, the Blues used home-ice advantage to post a 4–1 victory and half their series deficit, getting a hat trick from Mike Sillinger. The next night, in Game 4, saw a back-and-forth game that ultimately went to San Jose, 4–3. With a chance to knock out the Blues at home in Game 5, they did just that, winning the game 3–1.

On a more serious note, shortly after the series, St. Louis left wing Mike Danton, who scored one goal in the series, was arrested, charged, and convicted in a conspiracy to murder his agent, David Frost.

The Canucks had won the division, and were riding a current 6 game winning streak. Dan Cloutier served as the starting goalie, and faired pretty well during the season. The Flames had used a run of 10–2–2 in the month of December, to make the playoffs for the first time since 1996.

The second all-Canada first round series (#4 Toronto defeated #5 Ottawa, 4–3 in the Eastern Conference) began at GM Place in Vancouver. The goals were easy to come by, but Vancouver scored more in a 5–3 Game 1 victory. Both defenses tightened considerably in Game 2, a 2–1 Calgary victory that tied the series headed to the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary.

Game 3 saw another 2–1 game, but this time Vancouver prevailed. However, during the game, Canucks goalie Dan Cloutier was injured making a save, and backup Johan Hedberg took over. Game 4 saw Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff and the Flames defense pick a good time to play well, with Kiprusoff stopping all 20 shots he faced in a 4–0 victory that tied the series, 2–2. After Hedberg's subpar performance in Game 4, he was replaced in the net by Alexander Auld, the third goalie in as many games for the Canucks.

Game 5, back in Vancouver, saw Calgary push the Canucks to the brink with a 2–1 victory. With elimination staring Vancouver in the face, the Canucks and Flames engaged in an all-out battle in Game 6 that saw Vancouver storm out to a 4–0 lead only to see the Flames come back to tie it. The game didn't end until triple-overtime, when Brendan Morrison scored 2:28 into the period in a 5–4 Vancouver victory. That set up a thrilling Game 7 in Vancouver with the winner getting bragging rights for western Canada. Matt Cooke scored twice for the Canucks, including a game tying goal off a desperation rush with five seconds left in regulation. Calgary won the game in overtime, 3–2, with Martin Gelinas scoring the game-winner 85 seconds into overtime.

In a bizarre fact, the last three times these teams have met in the playoffs, the series was a first round match-up, went the maximum seven games with Game 7 being decided in overtime each time, and the winning team would eventually go all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Game 1 at the Pepsi Center in Denver saw the Avalanche win, 3–1. Game 2 saw Colorado increase the offensive pressure on Dallas goalie Marty Turco in a 5–2 Avalanche win.

At home at the American Airlines Center and in danger of falling behind 3–0 in the series, Dallas bounced back with a crucial victory in overtime, 4–3, to climb back into the series. After the first 80 minutes of Game 4 failed to produce a winner, Dallas stood a chance at winning the game, tying the series, and guaranteeing at least one more game at home. But Marek Svatos won the game for the Avalanche 5:18 into the second overtime to break Dallas' back.

Back in Colorado for Game 5, Dallas kept it close until the third period, when Colorado broke the game wide open with three goals to extend a 2–1 lead to 5–1 to clinch the series.

This series pitted the top-seeded Lightning, who had hastily eliminated the Islanders in the first round, against the Canadiens, who were riding an emotional high after their thrilling comeback seven-game series victory against the Boston Bruins.

Game 1, at Tampa's St. Pete Times Forum, saw a not-so-rare occurrence for the Lightning: a shutout by goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, his fourth of the postseason out of six games he played in. Khabibulin turned away all 21 shots he saw in the 4–0 victory, with the 21 shots being an indicator of the strong Lightning defense. Game 1 also saw Montreal goalie Jose Theodore, who had shut out Boston in Game 7 of the Quarterfinals, get pulled in favor of Mathieu Garon, who went 6-for-6 during his brief stint in goal. Game 2 saw Theodore return to goal for Montreal, but the Canadiens still lost the game by a score of 3–1.

Game 3 saw Khabibulin give up three goals for the first time in five games. In fact, in the five games since his last loss, he had allowed a combined total of three goals. But despite the letdown, Tampa found a way to win the game 65 seconds into overtime, 4–3. The demoralizing defeat stung Montreal, and they were swept without resisting in a 3–1 Game 4 loss.

This series pitted two Eastern Conference rivals that were evenly matched; Toronto had 103 points and Philadelphia 101, but Philadelphia had knocked off their first-round opponent quicker than Toronto; Philadelphia knocked out New Jersey in five games while it took Toronto all seven games to eliminate Ottawa.

Game 1, at Philadelphia's Wachovia Center, saw a closely-played game that ultimately went to the Flyers, 3–1. Game 2 was even closer, but Philadelphia's defense held firm in a 2–1 victory that put them up in the series, 2–0.

However, the shift in venue to Air Canada Centre certainly fired up the Maple Leafs, as they used three second-period goals to help out in a 4–1 Game 3 victory. Home-ice advantage continued to be a factor in Game 4, a 3–1 Toronto victory.

The series went back to Philadelphia for Game 5, and Philadelphia scored a postseason-high seven goals in a 7–2 victory, knocking out Toronto goalie Ed Belfour after the sixth goal in favor of Trevor Kidd in the process. Overlooked during the scoring barrage was a goalie to Philadelphia goalie Robert Esche, who was knocked out early and replaced by Sean Burke, who went 8-for-9 in goal; Toronto only took 11 shots during the whole game. Philadelphia's Keith Primeau logged a hat trick to add to the positive for the Flyers. Game 6, back in Toronto, saw Toronto rally from a 2–0 third-period deficit to force overtime, but Jeremy Roenick's second goal of the game ended the Maple Leafs' season.

This series pitted the top-seeded Red Wings, who were heavily favored, against the Flames, who had knocked out their intracountry rival, Vancouver, in an emotional seven-game series.

Game 1, at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, saw the Flames stay with the Red Wings for every step of the way, and then in overtime, Marcus Nilson scored the game-winning goal 2:39 in. Stunned by the Game 1 loss, the Red Wings, hoping to avoid going down 2–0 in the series going to Calgary, bounced back with a 5–2 Game 2 victory.

At the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary for Game 3, Calgary used three second-period goals to register a 3–2 victory and take a 2–1 lead in the series. But Detroit again showed the ability to bounce back after a close loss, taking Game 4, 4–2.

The series shifted back to Detroit for Game 5, when Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff picked an opportune time to shut out an opponent: his 31-save shutout in a 1–0 victory pushed Detroit to the brink, with Game 6 in Calgary. Detroit goalie Curtis Joseph also played well, but the difference in the game was a goal by Craig Conroy. During the second period, a shot by Red Wings defensman Mathieu Schneider deflected off a stick and struck Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman in the left eye. Joe Louis Arena fell silent while Yzerman was attended to for several minutes and then helped off the ice, holding a towel to his face. Yzerman would not return to the series.

At the Saddledome for Game 6, Kiprusoff again refused to budge, allowing nothing in regulation, but so did Joseph. It was now sudden-death for Detroit, and with 47 seconds left in the first overtime, Martin Gelinas beat Joseph set up by assists from Conroy and Jarome Iginla, and Calgary won their second straight 1–0 game, and their second straight overtime victory to clinch a series. Kiprusoff's 38-save shutout in Game 6 meant that he had stopped the final 69 shots he saw in the series.

This series pitted two opponents who defeated their first-round opponents, St. Louis and Dallas, respectively, in five games, with each team winning the first two, losing the third game, and then winning the next two.

Game 1 took place at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. The Sharks came flying out of the gate, scoring three first-period goals en route to a 5–2 victory highlighted by Patrick Marleau's hat trick, his second of the postseason. After giving up the fifth and final Sharks goal, Colorado goalie David Aebischer was pulled in favor of Tommy Salo, who went 7-for-7 in saves. Game 2 was more of the same: San Jose continued to shell Aebischer while goalie Evgeni Nabokov limited the Avalanche attack in a 4–1 victory.

The shift in venue to Colorado's Pepsi Center for Game 3, and San Jose's attack was limited to only one goal, scored by Vincent Damphousse, but Nabokov was brilliant between the pipes, stopping all 33 shots that he faced in the 1–0 victory to push Colorado to the brink. Down 3–0 in the series, Colorado extended their season for at least another game with a 1–0 overtime victory in Game 4 as Aebischer rebounded from his poor play in Games 1 and 2 with a 27-save shutout, and the game's lone goal was scored by Joe Sakic 5:15 into overtime.

When the series returned to San Jose for Game 5 and posted another overtime victory on another game-winning goal by Sakic, this time by a 2–1 count, people began to wonder: with Game 6 in Colorado, could Colorado rebound from a 3–0 hole to force a Game 7? Fortunately for Sharks fans, this did not happen, as San Jose won Game 6 in Colorado, 3–1, and eliminate the Avalanche. San Jose's strong second period, in which they scored three goals, was the difference.

The Eastern Conference Finals pitted the Lightning, 8–1 in the postseason up to that point, against the third-seeded Flyers, who had just defeated Toronto in a six-game series.

Game 1, at St. Pete Times Forum, saw Philadelphia take only 20 shots on goal, a sign of the strong Tampa Bay defense. Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, all but impenetrable in the first two rounds, stopped 19 of those 20 shots, the only miss being a Michal Handzus goal in a 3–1 Lightning win. However, Game 2 saw a stunning turn of events: Khabibulin was shelled in goal, only seeing 12 shots and getting yanked after giving up four goals in a 6–2 Flyers victory. Backup goalie John Grahame went 15-for-17 in relief of Khabibulin, and the series was tied, 1–1, going to Philadelphia.

Game 3 at the Wachovia Center saw Khabibulin return to his dominant form in net, which was bad news for the Flyers, as Khabibulin stopped 24 out of 25 shots, the only miss being a Keith Primeau goal in a 4–1 Lightning win. Game 4 saw the Flyers pull even with a critical 3–2 victory that tied the series headed back to Tampa Bay.

Back in Tampa Bay for a critical Game 5, the Lightning used home-ice advantage in a 4–2 victory, and they were now one win away from the Stanley Cup Finals. Brad Richards' two goals marked the first time all series a player had scored more than one goal in a game. Philadelphia's backs were against the wall in this critical Game 6, but they had home-ice advantage. Trailing 4-3 in the third period, Keith Primeau continued his impressive playoff performance by tying the game with under 2 minutes remaining, beating Khabibulin on a wraparound and sending the Wachovia Center into a frenzy. The Flyers won the game in overtime, 5–4, on a Simon Gagne goal 18:18 in, his second of the game and his first two goals of the series. The series was going back to Tampa Bay for a Game 7, and both defenses were strong, but Tampa Bay had a little bit more, winning the game, 2–1, and moving on to the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Western Conference Finals pitted the second-seeded Sharks against the sixth-seeded Flames, who had upset both Vancouver and Detroit en route to this series against San Jose.

Game 1, at San Jose's HP Pavilion, saw the Flames win the game 18:43 into overtime, 4–3, on a Steve Montador goal, his first of the postseason. In Game 2, Calgary came charging out of the gate, scoring two first-period goals and never looking back in a 4–1 victory. The Sharks were in trouble: they were down in the series, 2–0, headed to Calgary.

Game 3, at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, saw San Jose come through when they needed to: goalie Evgeni Nabokov posted a 34-save shutout and Alex Korolyuk scored two goals in a 3–0 Sharks win. Game 4 saw the unusual trend of the away team playing well in the series, as San Jose tied the series, 2–2, with a 4–2 victory. San Jose's attack came quick and hard with four second-period goals. After San Jose's fourth goal, Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff was pulled in favor of Roman Turek, who went 3-for-3 between the pipes.

The series went to San Jose for Game 5, and the road team continued to play well, with Kiprusoff bouncing back from his Game 4 shelling, getting help from his defense as well, as he stopped all 19 shots he faced in a 3–0 Flames win that pushed San Jose to the brink. The series returned to Calgary for Game 6, and for the first time all series, the home team won, a 3–1 Calgary victory that propelled the underdog Flames into the Stanley Cup Finals. This marked the first time since Vancouver lost in 1994 that a Canadian team reached the finals.

The 2004 Stanley Cup Finals pitted the team with the second-most points, the Tampa Bay Lightning, against a team that barely made the playoffs, three points from the bottom of the playoff qualifiers, the Calgary Flames.

Tampa Bay had cruised through the first two rounds against the New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens before running into stiff competition from the Philadelphia Flyers, who they nevertheless defeated in seven games. Calgary had beaten the Western Conference's top three seeded teams, the Vancouver Canucks, Detroit Red Wings, and the San Jose Sharks, in that order.

Game 1, at St. Pete Times Forum, saw the Flames win the game, 4–1. Calgary only got 19 shots off against the Lightning defense, but more than one-fifth found the net. Martin Gelinas got Calgary on the board early, and they extended the lead to 3–0 in the second period on goals by Jarome Iginla, his 11th of the postseason, and Stephane Yelle. Chris Simon added the fourth and final Calgary goal after Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis scored the lone Lightning goal.

Game 2 saw the same final score, but this time, it was Tampa Bay winning a clutch game to tie the series, 1–1, headed to Calgary. Ruslan Fedotenko's 10th goal of the postseason got the Lightning on the board first, and Tampa Bay used three third-period goals, coming from Brad Richards, Dan Boyle, and St. Louis, respectively, to blast the game open. The lone Calgary goal was scored by Ville Nieminen.

The series shifted to the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, where Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff and the Calgary defense completely stonewalled the Tampa Bay attack, which only took 21 shots in a 3–0 Flames victory, and Calgary was halfway home. Simon scored the first Calgary goal in the second period, and Shean Donovan and Iginla added goals to ice the game.

With a chance to take a commanding 3–1 series lead, Calgary was shut out by Lightning goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, who recorded his fifth shutout of the postseason, a 29-save shutout, in a 1–0 Tampa Bay victory, with the game's lone goal being scored by Richards three minutes into the game.

The series returned to Tampa Bay tied, 2–2, for a critical Game 5, and Calgary pulled off a 3–2 overtime victory to move within one win away from the Stanley Cup. After Gelinas and St. Louis traded goals in the first period, Iginla scored for Calgary late in the second period. However, Fredrik Modin tied the game for the Lightning 37 seconds into the third period. The 2–2 score held until after 14:40 had gone by in overtime, when Oleg Saprykin's first goal since the first round won the game for the Flames.

Back to Calgary for Game 6, each team scored two second-period goals, with Richards scoring two for the Lightning and Chris Clark and Marcus Nilson for the Flames, respectively. In the third period, there was a dispute over a Martin Gelinas shot that appeared to have gone in. A review from one unorthodox camera angle showed the puck would appear to have crossed the goal line before Khabibulin's pad dragged it out, though another camera did show the puck had been knocked several inches above the goal line in front of Khabibulin's pad. Although it never was reviewed, it was officially inconclusive. The game entered overtime with the Flames needing only a single goal to win the Stanley Cup. Thirty-three seconds into double overtime, St. Louis put in the game-winner for the Lightning to force a winner-take-all Game 7 in Tampa Bay.

In a tense Game 7, Fedotenko scored goals for Tampa Bay late in the first period and late in the second period for a 2–0 lead. After Conroy scored to narrow the deficit to 2–1, Calgary barraged Khabibulin after taking only seven shots in the first two periods. After the Conroy goal, Khabibulin stopped 16 Calgary shots. Tampa Bay won the game, 2–1, and the Stanley Cup.

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2008–09 Toronto Maple Leafs season

The 2008–09 Toronto Maple Leafs season was the franchise's 91st, and their 81st as the Maple Leafs. The Leafs did not qualify for the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, and have not qualified for the postseason since the 2003–04 season.

The Leafs faced an offseason challenge to hire a General Manager. Brian Burke was a favorite for the position held by interim GM Cliff Fletcher but Burke decided to stay with the Anaheim Ducks. He was not given permission to talk to the Leafs about their vacancy by Ducks owner Henry Samueli. Burke had one more year left on his contract as the general manager of the Ducks and those close to him say he was interested in the Leafs' job.

On May 7, the Leafs fired head coach Paul Maurice, along with two assistant coaches after missing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. On May 8th, the Leafs asked the Vancouver Canucks permission to speak to Dave Nonis about hiring him for a position with the club.

In mid-May, there were rumours that Wayne Gretzky was in the running for a position with the Maple Leafs. Gretzky responded to the rumours linking him to the Toronto Maple Leafs by stating that his focus was on the Phoenix Coyotes and developing their young talent.

On June 10, Ron Wilson was hired as the new head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Wilson was fired in May by San Jose after the Sharks lost to the Dallas Stars in the second round of the NHL playoffs. Wilson has also coached the Anaheim Ducks and the Washington Capitals. The former U.S. college player spent parts of three NHL seasons with the Leafs in the 1970s.

The Toronto Maple Leafs hired Al Coates as their player-personnel director on Monday, June 16. Coates comes to Toronto after spending the previous six seasons with Anaheim. Coates has spent more than 30 years in pro hockey and has been part of two Stanley Cup-winning teams ('07 with Anaheim and '89 with Calgary). The move perpetuated speculation that Anaheim Ducks general manager Brian Burke will become the Leafs' GM once his deal with the Ducks expires in 2009, but this speculation is premature. New head coach Ron Wilson played hockey with Burke at Providence, but this is largely considered moot and mildly coincidental.

Former NHL star Joe Nieuwendyk was named as general manager Cliff Fletcher's special assistant on July 8. While playing for the Florida Panthers, Nieuwendyk gained experience as a special consultant to GM Jacques Martin.

Throughout the offseason, the Maple Leafs have been involved in numerous transactions. On June 24, the Toronto Maple Leafs put Goaltender Andrew Raycroft and Forward Kyle Wellwood on waivers. Also, Interim GM Cliff Fletcher informed Darcy Tucker that he is to be bought out of his three-year contract, however it will not be official until June 25th.

The Maple Leafs bought out goaltender Andrew Raycroft on June 28, making him eligible for free agency on July 1st. When the free agent signing period began on July 1, the Toronto Maple Leafs signed on defenceman Jeff Finger, goaltender Curtis Joseph to back up current starting goaltender Vesa Toskala and former Dallas Stars forward Niklas Hagman. Another transaction was made on July 3, as Cliff Fletcher was busy again as he traded for former Montreal Canadiens forward Mikhail Grabovski in exchange for the rights to Greg Pateryn and a 2nd round draft choice in 2010. The Leafs also resigned forwards Dominic Moore, John Mitchell, and Greg Scott. On July 14, the Maple Leafs acquired forward Ryan Hollweg in a trade with the New York Rangers for a 5th round draft pick in 2009.

With a young roster, the Leafs were expected to have a lacklustre season. This proved to be correct, as they fell out of the playoff race relatively early and showed little sign of recovery. However, they showed signs of improvement in February and March 2009, during which they had a remarkable stretch of seven consecutive games which went to overtime. The Leafs lost the first two in shootouts then won four in a row with two overtime wins and two shootout wins, followed by an overtime loss.

In November 2008, Brian Burke obtained his release from the Anaheim Ducks and joined the Leafs as President and General Manager.

The Leafs were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs on March 31, 2009, with six games remaining in the season.

If the Leafs had qualified for the playoffs, it would have been their first qualification since the 2003–04 NHL season.

On October 6, the team placed Mark Bell on waivers.

Toronto's picks at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft in Ottawa, Ontario.

Updated March 30, 2009.

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Hannu Toivonen

Toivonen Hannu Ilves 2008.jpg

Hannu Toivonen (born May 18, 1984) is a Finnish professional ice hockey goaltender currently playing for Ilves Tampere of the Finnish SM-liiga.

Toivonen started his pro career with HPK in the Finnish SM-liiga. He was drafted by the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League (NHL) in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, and moved to the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League (AHL) in 2003.

With Andrew Raycroft sitting out due to a contract dispute, Toivonen started the 2005–06 NHL season as the Bruins' backup goaltender. He made his NHL debut on October 8, 2005 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, coming away with an overtime win. He holds the distinction of allowing the first goal of Sidney Crosby's career in that game. On December 1, 2005, he recorded his first NHL shutout, blanking the Ottawa Senators. Toivonen was 9–5–4 with a 2.63 GAA and a .914 SV% before suffering a high ankle sprain in January that effectively ended his season.

At the beginning of the 2006–07 NHL season, Toivonen and fellow team-mate and goaltender Tim Thomas were competing for the starter spot. After a rough start at the beginning of the season, Toivonen was sent down to Providence and was replaced by Brian Finley on November 7, 2006, officially making Tim Thomas the starting goaltender for Boston. Over the course of the next couple months, he was repeatedly recalled to Boston and sent back down to Providence. On April 2, he was recalled to Boston for the last two away games, then sent back to Providence on April 6.

On April 26, 2007, Toivonen signed a one-year contract extension with the Boston Bruins.

On July 23, 2007, Toivonen was traded to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Carl Soderberg. On November 17, 2007, Toivonen recorded his first shutout against the Nashville Predators. Upon being traded to the Blues, Toivonen was reunited with former Bruins teammates Brad Boyes, Ryan Glenn, Yan Stastny and Derek Gustafson. Toivonen was assigned to the Peoria Rivermen, the Blues' AHL affiliate, on February 11, 2008.

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Vesa Toskala

Vesa Toskala 2006 2.jpg

Vesa Tapani Toskala (born on May 20, 1977 in Tampere, Finland), is a professional ice hockey goaltender currently with the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League. He is a butterfly style goaltender.

Toskala was selected by San Jose in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft (4th round, 90th overall). The Sharks also took fellow Finn Miikka Kiprusoff in the fifth round. Toskala turned heads with his stellar play in the 1998-1999 season with Ilves of the SM-liiga, where he went 21-12-0 with a 2.14 GAA and a 0.916 save percentage and posted five shutouts. The next season, playing a style that modeled after Markus Korhonen he played with Färjestads BK of the Swedish Elitserien and posted an impressive 2.59 GAA. In one game with Färjestad, Toskala scored a goal. At this point, Toskala was not sure if he wanted to have a career in hockey. Wanting a more stable job, he was going to quit hockey altogether to go to school full-time, before San Jose enticed him to North America.

He holds the San Jose Club record as the only goalie to record a multiple point game as he tallied two assists against Chicago on February 3, 2007.

In his first season in North America in 2000-2001, he played with the Kentucky Thoroughblades of the AHL. Splitting time with second-year-pro Kiprusoff, he played 44 games, going 22-13-5 with a 2.77 GAA and a 0.911 save percentage, quickly adapting to the North American game and played three games for Kentucky in the playoffs. The next year, after the team's move to Cleveland he took over the starting role after Kiprusoff was recalled to San Jose, and in 62 games went 19-33-7 with a 2.99 GAA and a 0.912 save percentage. That season he led the league in games played and saves made (1,845). When Kiprusoff fell to injury, Toskala was called up to back-up Evgeni Nabokov. Toskala received ten minutes of playing time in his first stint in the NHL, where he stopped the two shots he faced.

In the 2002-03 NHL season, Nabokov and San Jose could not settle on a contract and Toskala served as Kiprusoff's backup. When Kiprusoff faltered, Toskala stepped in and played admirably, going 4-3-1 with a 2.35 GAA and a 0.927 save percentage. He earned his first shutout in a 25-save-effort against the Detroit Red Wings. When Nabokov was re-signed, Toskala was sent back to Cleveland, and he struggled going 15-30-2, with a 3.21 GAA and a 0.903 save percentage. Nonetheless, the Sharks brass remembered Toskala's stellar play in the big league, and at the end of the season, they recalled Toskala, meaning the Sharks now had three goaltenders on their roster. Since Nabokov was the established starter, Kiprusoff and Toskala fought for the backup position, and Toskala won the battle when Kiprusoff was traded to the Calgary Flames. When Kiprusoff enjoyed tremendous success in Calgary, leading them to the Stanley Cup finals, many believed that since San Jose had picked Toskala over Kiprusoff, Toskala could be even better. That season, playing in 28 games, Toskala went 12-8-4 with a 2.06 GAA and a 0.930 save percentage. He did not play in the playoffs.

2005-06 proved to be a career year for Toskala; he began as the backup to Nabokov, but after a start on February 8 he posted a record of 17-2-2 leading to a Stanley Cup playoff berth for the Sharks. Toskala's goals-against-average fell from 3.25 to 2.55, while his save percentage increased from 0.872 to .900. This earned him the nickname "The Finnish Horse" from Shark's broadcaster Dan Rusanowsky. Toskala's play earned him several accolades and relegated Nabokov to the role of backup goaltender. On February 27, the Sharks resigned Toskala to a two-year contract extension worth US$2.75 million. Toskala finished the playoffs with 2.45 goals-against-average and a 0.910 save percentage.

Since both Toskala and Nabokov were seen as number one goalies, the Sharks attempted to trade one or the other before the season began. No trade occurred, and Ron Wilson opted to alternate starts between Toskala and Nabokov. Through 71 games, Toskala played in 35 games, starting 31 and posting a 2.45 GAA, along with 3 shutouts. Nabokov got the nod after that, and played in San Jose's remaining regular season and playoff games.

On June 22, the first day of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft weekend in Columbus, Ohio, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson traded Toskala along with forward Mark Bell to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for the club's 2007 1st (13th overall, which was later traded to the St. Louis Blues) and 2nd round draft picks, as well as Toronto's 4th round pick in 2009.

The Toronto Maple Leafs signed Toskala to a four year contract with the team worth 4 million dollars a season in July 2007. He and Andrew Raycroft shared starts until late November, when Toskala's GAA and save percentage improved dramatically. He recorded two shutouts in December, and the NHL named him best goaltender of the month. Toskala is now the Leafs' starting goaltender, who will be backed up by veteran and past Leaf starting netminder Curtis Joseph.

In the 2009 NHL regular season opener on October 9, 2008, the official scoresheet between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings listed Vesa Toskala as the Maple Leafs captain. Coach Ron Wilson stated that the scoresheet was a mistake.

On March 4, 2009, Toskala announced that he would be undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum; the Maple Leafs claimed goalie Martin Gerber off of re-entry waivers to replace him.

Toskala and his wife live in a condo in Toronto. Toskala spent two years in Finland training to be a chef, although he claims that he was not particularly good.

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2006–07 Toronto Maple Leafs season

The 2006–07 NHL season saw the Toronto Maple Leafs attempting to recover from a 2005–06 season in which it finished two points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. This marked the first time since the Maple Leafs joined the Eastern Conference in the 1998–99 season that the team did not make the playoffs.

Michael Peca was a major addition to the team for 2006–07, signed from the defending Western Conference champion Edmonton Oilers. Peca went down with a broken leg in December, however, after recording just four goals in 35 games.

Goaltender Andrew Raycroft was acquired in a trade from the Boston Bruins, to take over the starting job vacated by Ed Belfour's departure to the Florida Panthers.

Although they finished in third place in the Northeast Division, the Maple Leafs ultimately failed to qualify for the playoffs after the New York Islanders clinch the 8th playoff spot after a 3–2 victory in a shootout to the New Jersey Devils, finishing just one point out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Final regular season division standings. For full standings, see 2006–07 NHL season.

Toronto's picks at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Leafs had the 13th overall draft pick in the 2005–06 NHL season.

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Source : Wikipedia