GAME: Atlanta Thrashers (19-19-3-2) at Phoenix Coyotes (16-12-11-2).
TIME: Sunday, 7 p.m. EST.
Brian Boucher knows his shutout streak can't last much longer. But he'll try
to keep it going as long as he can.
Boucher will look to extend the longest shutout streak in modern NHL history
when the Phoenix Coyotes host the Atlanta Thrashers.
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
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
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
"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
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.