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Phoenix Coyotes vs. Minnesota Wild

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GAME: Phoenix Coyotes (15-12-11-2) at Minnesota Wild (15-16-11-0).

TIME: Friday, 8 p.m. EST.

Not bad for a third-string goaltender.

Brian Boucher, who began this season as the Phoenix Coyotes' No. 3 goalie, will be back in net Friday against the Minnesota Wild with a chance to set an NHL record with his fifth straight shutout.

Boucher has put together one of the greatest stretches by a goalie in league history, posting shutouts in four straight games as part of a scoreless streak of 265:45. Boucher has stopped 119 consecutive shots since Nashville's Scott Walker scored with 45 seconds left in the second period of a 3-3 tie on Dec. 22.

The only other goalie in NHL modern-era history with four consecutive shutouts was Montreal's Bill Durnan, who accomplished the feat from Feb. 26-March 6, 1949. Durnan holds the modern-era NHL mark with a shutout streak of 309:21.

Boucher turned aside 27 shots for his 11th career shutout Wednesday, leading Phoenix to a 3-0 victory over Washington.

"It's quite an honor. I can't even think of the words to describe it," Boucher said. "I never thought that tonight would be a shutout. I don't come into games thinking about shutout, I think about having a good start and trying to give my team a chance to win. But we've pulled together on this road trip, and it's pretty awesome."

Boucher began the season behind Sean Burke and Zac Bierk on the Coyotes' depth chart. Boucher was only elevated to Burke's backup when Bierk sustained a groin injury on Nov. 9.

Phoenix coach Bob Francis left little doubt that Boucher would start Friday.

"What would you do?" Francis said. "I'm not stupid."

Even Burke knows Boucher has to start Friday.

"Absolutely," Burke said. "What am I going to say? You've got to think about what's best for the team and you don't worry about individuals. Everybody's playing hard to keep this thing going right now, and I'm not going to start anything."

Boucher's goaltending has helped the Coyotes win a season-high four in a row overall while extending their road unbeaten streak to eight (4-0-4), one shy of the franchise record. The Winnipeg Jets went 8-0-1 on the road from Feb. 25-April 7, 1985.

The usually low-scoring Wild would seem to be the perfect team for Boucher to face with a shot at the record, but Minnesota is coming off the best offensive performance in its brief history.

Eric Chouinard scored twice, and five other players had a goal as the Wild set a single-game franchise record for goals in a 7-4 victory over Chicago on Wednesday.

That snapped a seven-game winless streak for the Wild, who scored 12 goals during the 0-2-5 skid.

"If we didn't have effort we wouldn't have won the game," Minnesota's Richard Park said. "We're not going to sweat the small stuff. Phoenix is coming in here. We have to be ready for them. That's a hot team right now."

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