Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Devils Show Faith in Boucher

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Devils Show Faith in Boucher

Article excerpt

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Less than a minute was left in what would end as a 3-0 Devils' victory Thursday night in San Jose, but they had yet to finish off the Sharks, who had goaltender Martin Jones on the bench for an extra attacker and were still pressing for a goal.

On the ice for the Devils was the line of Reid Boucher, Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri. Zajac and Palmieri are used to playing in these situations, but it was something relatively new for the 22- year-old Boucher, whose defensive game has not always been a strength in his three seasons as a pro.

Boucher would end up making the key play, though, blocking a Logan Couture shot and carrying the puck out of the Devils' end before dishing the puck off to Zajac for the clinching empty-net goal with 52.1 seconds remaining.

"I thought throughout the game he played hard," said Devils coach John Hynes, whose team continues its three-game road trip tonight in Los Angeles. "We talked about trying to play harder after the second period. He was one of those guys that had a very good third period. He blocked some shots. ... So, he deserved the opportunity to be out there and he did a nice job when he was in there at the end."

Boucher recognized that getting that opportunity in that situation was a significant step in his development.

"I think I earned that situation," Boucher said. "It seems like I earned the trust of the coaching staff to put me out there, so it gives me a little confidence that they trust me in all situations like that."

After a stellar junior career with Sarnia in the OHL, Boucher turned pro with the Devils in 2013-14 with great expectations of him as a goal scorer. That's what happens when you break a team record set by Tampa Bay superstar Steven Stamkos by scoring 62 goals in 68 games with Sarnia the previous season.

Boucher got a taste of the NHL with the Devils in 2013-14, playing in 23 games and putting up two goals and three assists. …

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