ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Brian Boucher was a third-stringer for
the Phoenix Coyotes when the season began. Now, he has accomplished
a feat matched by no other goalie over the past 70 years.
|Top 10 NHL Shutout Streaks|
Boucher broke the record for the longest shutout streak in
modern NHL history, extending his string to nearly 5½ hours in a
2-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night.
Boucher's streak stands at 325:45, entering a Sunday home game
against Atlanta. He stopped 21 shots and posted his modern-record
fifth consecutive shutout, leaving the ice to a loud cheer from
Early in the third period, Boucher passed Bill Durnan's mark of
309:21 -- set in 1949 with Montreal. Durnan also held the record of
four straight shutouts.
"I did look up at the clock," said Boucher, who has 130 saves
since the streak began. "Once I saw it was, I think, four minutes
into the third, I knew I could breathe easy as far as the streak is
"That is probably the first time I really was counting down. I
hate to do that, but I don't know if anyone could ignore it. I'm
happy that was over and then we could focus on just winning the
Boucher, whose mask is painted to look like a wall built with
red bricks, improved to 6-2-4.
"It's just been unbelievable," he said. "It's just a great
ride we're on right now. I still haven't really stopped to think
about it too much. I mean, I can't explain what's going on."
Behind Sean Burke and Zac Bierk on the depth chart when the
season began, Boucher was left unprotected in the waiver draft and
didn't move up until Bierk injured his groin in November.
who tied a franchise record by extending their unbeaten streak on
the road to nine games (5-0-4). The last four of Boucher's shutouts
have come on the road.
"You almost lose the fact that you have to win the hockey
game," Coyotes coach Bob Francis said. "Lost in all of this is
that we're becoming a pretty good team and we're learning what it
Dwayne Roloson made 30 saves for the Wild, 1-3-5 in their last
nine games. They went 0-for-3 on the power play and are 1-for-30
with a man advantage over their last 10 games.
"I can't control what he does," Roloson said of Boucher.
"He's riding cloud nine. He gave his guys a chance to win. As a
goalie, that's all you can ask for."
Richard Park had four of Minnesota's shots, including a
one-timer midway through the second that ricocheted off Boucher's
right leg after a perfect set-up pass by Sergei Zholtok. Replays
showed Park turning around, wide-eyed in disbelief that his shot
"That's a goal 9.9 out of 10 times," Park said. "I got the
shot off I wanted, but it's remarkable the swagger he's got in the
net, the confidence."
The Wild had several chances to score in the first two periods,
but they lacked energy in the third once they fell behind by two
goals. Boucher's record became official less than a minute after
"To me, we were playing better than they were," Wild coach
Jacques Lemaire said.
Minnesota, with 93 goals and an average of 2.2 per game, is one
of the league's lowest-scoring teams -- a 7-4 victory over Chicago
on Wednesday notwithstanding.
"I thought we played well. We generated some good chances,"
Roloson said. "Unfortunately, we didn't get one."
Boucher was an unlikely candidate for this feat, considering he
began the season with only seven career shutouts over his four
previous NHL seasons -- three of them with Philadelphia. In fact,
Boucher -- a first-round draft pick of the Flyers in 1995 -- went 85
games without a shutout until his streak began on Dec. 31.
"It'll end at some point," Boucher said. "I'm not going into
games thinking about shutouts. Winning is the most important
The NHL's modern era began after 1944, when the center red
line was added. Alex Connell owns the overall records of six
straight shutouts and a 461:29 scoreless streak for Ottawa in
1927-28, when forward passing was not permitted in the attacking
zone. ... The Phoenix franchise record for consecutive road games
without a loss was first set in 1984-85 by the Winnipeg Jets. ...
Minnesota LW Pascal Dupuis, who has six points in his last seven
games, was scratched with a sprained ankle. ... Roloson has allowed
two goals or less in his last 11 appearances. This was only his
second defeat in his last nine games.