Philadelphia Flyers goalie Brian Boucher watched Martin Brodeur notch his NHL record-tying 103rd career shutout Monday night and couldn't help but be impressed.
"Marty, he's had one heck of a career, with Stanley Cups, gold medals, Vezinas, the wins record -- the guy is just unbelievable," Boucher told NHL.com. "For me growing up, Patrick Roy was the guy that a lot of kids emulated or looked up to. For me as a professional, now playing, one guy I respect a ton is Marty Brodeur. He's got every single record, he plays every game. … As a fellow goaltender, I know how tough that is and I'm telling you, he's pretty amazing."
The shutout mark, which Brodeur could hold alone as soon as Wednesday night and had stood since 1964, once was considered untouchable since shutouts are as much about luck and strong team play as much as the skill of the goaltender.
"It's not something you go into the game thinking I'm going to get a shutout," Boucher said. "Everyone wants to get a shutout, obviously, but there're situations in a game that dictate it goes otherwise.
"You need the breaks. You need your team to play well in front of you, you need to stay out of the (penalty) box. You don't want to be killing eight and 10 penalties a night, that makes it hard on everybody. It's a total team effort (and) you need some bounces."
Boucher, now 32 and in his 10th NHL season, knows a little something about shutouts. He has 16 in his career, but he earned nearly one-third of that total in one remarkable 10-day span during the 2003-04 season.
Boucher, then a member of the Phoenix Coyotes, holds the NHL record of five-straight shutouts.
"I just remember it was a fun time," he said. "A stressful time. The last two games the guys were really stressed out. They were so scared to screw things up."
Boucher started his run Dec. 31, 2003, when he stopped all 21 shots against the Los Angeles Kings. Two days later, he stopped all 35 shots in a win against the Stars in Dallas. Two days after that, he went to Carolina and stopped all 25 Hurricanes shots. Next was Washington and a 27-save effort against the Capitals to make it four in a row. Then Jan. 9, in Minnesota, he made 21 saves on 21 shots.
On Jan. 11 in Phoenix, the streak ended when the Atlanta Thrashers' Randy Robitaille scored on him at 6:16 of the first period. In all, Boucher went a League-record 332:01 without allowing a goal.
Boucher said it was more of a relief that the streak finally ended -- for him and his teammates.
"They told me after it was over, 'Thank God it's done because we were so scared to take a penalty and lose the streak for you,'" Boucher said.
As great as Brodeur is, even he's never had five in a row. And Boucher, who can't help but see Brodeur's name atop all the goaltending records, hopes it stays that way.
"If he could leave that record alone, that would be nice," he said. "Let us lowly guys enjoy some time in the spotlight."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org