123T
PHX0112
MIN0000

Five straight shutouts for Boucher

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

Length

Goalie

Dates

325:45

Brian Boucher
Phoenix

12/27/03-present

309:21

Bill Durnan
Montreal

2/24-3/9/49

245:33

Turk Broda
Toronto

10/15-10/29/50

237:07

J.S. Giguere
Anaheim

12/6-12/18/02

227:40

John Vanbiesbrouck
Philadelphia

10/17-10/26/99

221:58

Martin Biron
Buffalo

1/11-1/25/03

219:26

Ed Belfour
Dallas

11/15-11/29/00

219:21

Trevor Kidd
Calgary

3/31-4/8/98

218:42

John Vanbiesbrouck
Philadelphia

1/3-1/16/99

217:38

Jim Rutherford
Detroit

12/20/75-1/10/76

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

Minnesota's fans.

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

concerned.

"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

game."

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.

Ossi Vaananen and Fredrik Sjostrom scored goals for the Coyotes,

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

takes."

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

was denied.

"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

Sjostrom scored.

"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

thing."Game notes
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.