GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Brian Boucher's record shutout streak ended with a
goal that deflected in off a Phoenix teammate.
The reaction was relief, not disappointment.
"I'm happy that it's over," Boucher said after the Coyotes tied the
Atlanta Thrashers 1-1 Sunday night. "It was a nice run, something that I'll
"But we're talking about one goal. I think it's good for the team that we
don't have to answer questions about it anymore."
Randy Robitaille's slap shot glanced off the chest of Phoenix defenseman
David Tanabe and into the net for a power-play goal that ended Boucher's
phenomenal string of five consecutive shutouts at 6:16 of the first period.
"I don't think it would have hit the net if it didn't hit me," Tanabe
said. "If it wasn't for that bounce, he could have had another shutout."
With the shot deflected directly in front of the net, Boucher had no time to
react and block it.
"A fluky goal," he said. "That's how easily a goal can go in. The fact
that it didn't happen for five-plus games is pretty amazing."
Phoenix coach Bobby Francis thought it was a fitting end to the streak.
"He was in such a zone right now, you knew it was going to be a broken
play," Francis said.
Daymond Langkow intercepted Garnet Exelby's clearing pass and scored an
unassisted goal to tie it 1-1 at 6:21 of the third period as Atlanta's winless
streak reached seven games and Phoenix's unbeaten string grew to six.
Boucher had 20 saves, including two incredible stops of shots by Ilya
Kovalchuk, a left-handed stab in the third period, and a sprawling, diving
block of a point-blank shot at 2:19 of overtime.
Atlanta's backup goalie Byron Dafoe made 40 saves as the Coyotes outshot the
"We threw everything at Byron Dafoe tonight and he was terrific," Boucher
said. "We should have come out with two points, and he was the only reason we
Dafoe was making just his 11th start of the season, and marveled at
"I'm sure there are 60 goalies around the league tipping their hat to him
because it's very impressive," Dafoe said. "I don't think that's going to be
broken definitely in my lifetime."
Atlanta had lost six in a row and was concluding a five-game road trip.
"We played yesterday so the guys were a little weary in the third period,"
coach Bob Hartley said, "and we did a good job just holding on at least for
Boucher, normally the backup to starter Sean Burke, broke modern-day records
for consecutive shutouts and minutes without allowing a goal when he beat
Minnesota 2-0 on Friday.
He was not scored upon for 332 minutes, 1 second and had 146 saves in that
span. The old records of 309:21 and four consecutive shutouts were set by
Montreal's Bill Durnan in 1949.
Boucher's streak began with a 4-0 home victory over Los Angeles on New
Year's Eve, then followed with road victories over Dallas (6-0), Carolina
(3-0), Washington (3-0) and Minnesota.
NHL officials didn't figure out who should get the Atlanta goal until the
start of the third period, initially saying Robitaille's shot glanced off the
stick of Atlanta's Randy Petrovicky.
The Coyotes were short-handed after Fredrik Sjorstrom was called for goalie
interference 52 seconds before the goal.
After the score, the sold-out crowd at the Coyotes' new Glendale Arena stood
and cheered Boucher's record fete. Play stopped and the Phoenix bench emptied,
as the players congratulated the goalie while the big screen showed highlights
of the streak.
"Everyone is talking about Brian," Francis said, "but everyone else is a
part of it as well, and it was nice to see them celebrate it together on the
Boucher had slipped to third on the Coyotes' goaltending depth chart and
could've been claimed by waivers by any other NHL team earlier this season.
Before backup Zac Bierk hurt his groin in November, Boucher wasn't even
practicing with the team.