Originally created 01/12/04

Thrashers tie Coyotes



GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix goalie Brian Boucher's record shutout streak ended with a goal he had no chance of stopping.

But his brilliant play kept on going in the Coyotes' 1-1 tie with the Atlanta Thrashers on Sunday night.

Randy Robitaille's wrist 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.

With the shot deflected directly in front of the net, Boucher had no time to react and block it.

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 Thrashers 41-21.

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 Fredrick 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. The Phoenix bench emptied, as the players congratulated the goalie.

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.

Notes: Burke is expected to start against Vancouver on Tuesday. ... Atlanta has not won at Phoenix in five tries. ... Boucher is unbeaten in his last 10 starts (6-0-4). ... The Coyotes fell 3:22 shy of the modern-era team mark of consecutive scoreless minutes, 309:37 set by Montreal in 1949. ... The Coyotes have sold out all four games at their new arena.