Andrew Raycroft will start in goal tonight when the Dallas Stars take on the Washington Capitals at American Airlines Center.
"We wanted to give Andrew a huge challenge," said Stars coach Marc Crawford. "He's played really well and deserves the opportunity to play. It's a tough challenge with the high flying, high scoring Capitals, but we've stuck with our plan of playing Kari [Lehtonen] in eight of ten games. Once in a while you've got to give your goalie a huge challenge. It's a great challenge for him tonight. Obviously, we're banking on the fact that he'll continue to play well."
Mark Fistric skated with the team this morning, but is not ready to return yet due to what he said was a groin/hip flexor issue.
"I would love for it to be tonight, but it's obviously not ready," Fistric said. "It definitely really close."
With Fistric unable to return, that means it will be the fifth straight appearance for Jeff Woywitka, who had been a healthy scratch in 11 of 12 games before being inserted into the lineup due to the Fistric injury.
“It’s been nice, get kind of a rhythm going and get comfortable,” said Woywitka. “Obviously, I get more comfortable every game I play. I feel good.”
After not playing for close to a month before getting into the lineup, it takes some time to get up to speed in game situations.
“You’re in skating shape, but you’re not in game shape,” said Woywitka. “It’s being hit, having the wind knocked out of you and having to recover after a shift.”
Woywitka’s numbers have been good over the last four games. He’s picked up a pair of assists and a plus-four rating. Crawford said Woywitka’s overall play seems to be coming around as well.
“He played really well the last game. He had three or four good scoring chances, which is what we haven’t seen a great deal from Jeff,” Crawford said. “We’ve asked him to play a simple game, to take first options and to not try and force too much. Maybe last game is hopefully a sign that he is going to keep improving his play, but he’s looking like he’s getting a bit of comfort in his overall play. I think that’s why you’re starting to see a little more offensive production from him.”