Brian Boucher knows his shutout streak can't last much longer. But he'll try to keep it going as long as he can.
The Coyotes goalie has not let a puck get past him for five consecutive games, an amazing stretch of nearly 51/2 hours. He has stopped 130 shots in those games.
Boucher's five consecutive shutouts and 325 minutes, 45 seconds, worth of scoreless ice time have both surpassed records set by Montreal's Bill Durnan in 1949.
The NHL's modern era began in the 1943-1944 season, 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.
"You've got to be prepared that it's going to end at some point," Boucher said after a 2-0 victory over Minnesota on Friday. "There's going to be a lucky goal that goes off a skate or something like that."
Boucher is still considered the backup to Sean Burke, but Phoenix coach Bob Francis said he will start against the Thrashers.
"It's the only fair thing to do," Francis said. "It'd be unfair to put Sean in that predicament."
Although Boucher knows he has had some luck over the past five games, his teammates marvel at his historic achievement.
"Sometimes bounces go your way, but at some point you have to say he's unbelievable right now," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "After two games, you say he's playing pretty well. After three, it's like, 'Whew, you don't see this very often.' After four, you're like, 'Holy smokes, when was the last time this happened?'
"Five? I don't know what to say."
As Atlanta attempts to end Boucher's streak, it will also be trying to snap a six-game losing streak.
The Thrashers have dropped the first three games of their four-game road trip, getting outscored 12-4 in the process. Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said he was particularly concerned with defensive lapses he observed in Saturday's 5-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
"We're a young team and we're letting other teams gain the advantage over us by the way we're defending our zone early in the game," he said. "We need to make better decisions out there on the ice and not let our mistakes cost us games."
Marc Savard, the Thrashers' second-leading scorer with 41 points, has missed the past two games with a concussion.
Atlanta is 0-for-18 on the power play in its last five games.