Brian Boucher—or "Bobby Boucher," or "The Waterboy," as I like to call him—led the Sharks to a 1-0 victory over the Kings in Los Angeles on Sunday night.
The Sharks improved to 3-0 on the year, 3-0 in the division, and 1-0 on the road, as all cylinders seem to be clicking to start the year. Boucher paved the way for San Jose, turning away each of the 21 shots he faced for his second shutout in four career starts for the Sharks.
The Kings were eager to avenge their Saturday night loss in San Jose, especially since Sunday was their hope opener. And even though they were able to go from being outshot 41-13 Saturday, to outshooting the Sharks Sunday 21-19, Brian Boucher was up to the task, posting his first shutout of the season.
Boucher is not one who is unfamiliar with goose-eggs. He once shut out the opposition for five games in a row with Coyotes back in 2003-2004, setting an NHL record.
However, Boucher has found himself bouncing around the NHL for the past few years, spending time with Calgary, Chicago, and Columbus. Boucher landed in the Flyers organization last season, where he appeared in 42 games for the Philadelphia Phantoms. Finally getting some consistent ice time helped Boucher get back on an NHL roster, as Doug Wilson signed him to a free-agent contract near the trade deadline last season.
Rather quickly, Boucher paid high dividends for the Sharks, shutting out the St. Louis Blues in his very first game in teal. He finished the season with a 3-1-1 record, 1.76 GAA, and a save percentage of .932.
Boucher provided a rather small, but important piece of the Stanley Cup puzzle for the Sharks—an experienced back-up for Evgeni Nabokov.
The Sharks had traded away Vesa Toskala in the offseason in 2007, making it clear that Nabokov was the number one guy in net. But that left the Sharks with rookie goaltenders Thomas Greiss and Dimitri Patzold to backup Nabokov.
The organization did not have confidence in either one to come in if Nabokov were to go down with injury. Therefore, Doug Wilson brought in Boucher to be the safety net for Nabokov and the Sharks.
This season, Wilson didn't let him get away, re-signing Boucher to a one-year deal to remain as Nabokov's backup. And the contract has already paid off—at least for one game.
Congratulations to Sharks rookie winger Lukas Kaspar, who provided the lone goal of the game—a nifty wrist shot on a three-on-two rush that rung off the post and in, beating Kings goaltender Jason LaBarbera on the stick-side.
The second period goal would hold up as the game winner for Kaspar, who looked elated in the post-game interview with Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda. And deservedly so—for a kid who was the last cut from training camp last year, to come in this year, make the team, and provide some offense right away will all but help him stay with the big club.
As for Brian Boucher, Sharks fans should look for him to be in the net quite often this year—especially in back-to-back situations like tonight, to give Nabokov some much-needed rest.
Sharks vs Blue Jackets @ the Tank.
7:30pm on CSN Bay area.