Goaltender Brian Boucher can easily be defined as an unlikely hero. Aside from his inconsistent spurts of greatness, it is safe to say that Boucher was average at best. On paper, the words “Brian Boucher” and “record holder” were never considered to be in the same sentence…or even the same book for that matter. So what happened? Why should we remember a goaltender with a career record of 120-139-30-15 (W-L-T-OTL)? While his name isn’t thrown around in the same category as Hasek, Roy, or Brodeur; Boucher has his own form of stardom. While most people have only fifteen seconds of fame, Boucher had a tad bit more. In fact, he was center stage in the league for approximately 332 minutes and 1 second.
Boucher lasted 17 years in the league emerging as a rookie in 1997. He mainly sat on the bench or split time with other goaltenders as the most games he ever played in a season was 45 with the Phoenix Coyotes back in the 2002-2003 season. Before the shutout streak Boucher’s most memorable moment came in the 2000 NHL playoffs with the Philadelphia Flyers. Boucher started 18 games for the Flyers during those playoffs and posted a 2.03 goals against average and a .917 save percentage. With those stats he managed 11 wins and 7 losses as he took his team all the way to the Eastern Conference Final against the New Jersey Devils. In that particular series, Brian Boucher battled it out with future hall of famer Martin Brodeur with electrifying saves like this one:
Brian Boucher landed in Phoenix in the summer of 2002 after being traded from the Philadelphia Flyers for Michal Handzus and Robert Esche. During his time in the desert, “Boosh” suited up for 96 games. Those 96 games resulted in a 28-45-18 (W-L-T) record. Out of the 28 games that he won, only five would amount to something memorable. Those five wins all happened to be shutouts and in the 2003-2004 season, those shutouts came back to back to back to back to back.
In 2003 the Phoenix Coyotes were absolutely terrible and posted a pathetic record of 22-36-18. With starter Sean Burke slumping in the beginning of the season, head coach Bob Francis elected to throw back up goaltender Brian Boucher in between the pipes. By getting more and more starts Boucher began gaining momentum.
- December 31, 2003 is where it all begins. In a game against the arch rival Los Angeles Kings, Brian Boucher received the nod from Francis to start between the pipes. Brian Boucher was on fire from the start as he blanked the Kings with a 21 save shutout. The Coyotes offense was not half bad either as they put four past the opposing goalie.
- Current shutout streak: 1 Game
- Total time without a goal: 85 minutes 45 seconds
- Bob Francis decided to ride the hot hand again and put Boucher as his starter on January 2, 2004. The first game of the new year was a successful one for the desert dogs. The Dallas Stars put 35 shots on net and Boucher was able to stop each and every one. The Coyotes dominated every aspect of the game and finished with a 6-0 score.
- Current shutout streak: 2 Games
- Total time without a goal: 145 minutes and 45 seconds
- With two straight shutouts under his belt, Boosh was in net again. The Coyotes were on the road again against the Carolina Hurricanes on January 4 and the result was the same as the one before. Boucher stopped all 26 shots that were thrown at him in a 3-0 shutout.
- Current shutout streak: 3 Games
- Total time without a goal: 205 minutes and 45 seconds
- Not many goalies can say they have shut out three straight opponents in a row and Brian Boucher was not going to stop there. On January 7, 2004 in Washington DC, he blanked the Capitals in a 27 save performance. Only one more game til the records are his.
- Current shutout streak: 4 Games
- Total time without a goal: 265 minutes and 45 seconds
- All eyes were on the Phoenix Coyotes goaltender in Minnesota on January 9, 2004. This was the night that history would be made. If Brian Boucher would simply shutout one more opponent, it would all be his. Sixty minutes of gameplay would come to an end with two goals scored altogether. Those goals were both scored by the Phoenix Coyotes. Boucher stopped all 21 shots that he faced with his fifth straight shutout. The record was now his.
- Current shutout streak: 5 Games
- Total time without a goal: 325 minutes and 45 seconds
- Could the Coyotes goalie add to his streak? In a game against the Atlanta Thrashers in Glendale Arena on January 11, Brian was set to do more. Unfortunately, just three shots into the game it was all over. A puck crossed the line just 6 minutes and 16 seconds into the game. The first puck to get behind him since December 22, 2003. The streak was done.
- Final shutout streak: 5 Games
- Final time without a goal: 332 minutes and 1 second
Three hundred and thirty two scoreless minutes for Coyotes goaltender Brian Boucher. A record finalized on January 11, 2004 that has not been touched today. When you talk about Brian Boucher you don’t talk about his mediocre career stats. You talk about the greatness he displayed for five straight games. This is a record that will never be touched in this day and age.
Thank you Brian Boucher.