There have been nine goaltenders who have scored a goal in a National Hockey League (NHL) game. The first goaltender to score a goal by intentionally shooting the puck into the opponent's net was the Philadelphia Flyers' Ron Hextall, who, on December 8, 1987, scored in an empty net after Boston pulled their goaltender, Rejean Lemelin, for a sixth attacker late in the third period. Goaltenders can also be given credit for a goal when they are the last person to touch the puck before an opponent inadvertently puts the puck into their own net. This was the case for the most recent instance of goaltender scoring, when Chris Mason was credited with a goal in 2006. The most recent goaltender to have scored a goal by deliberately shooting the puck into his opponents' net was Evgeni Nabokov, in 2002.
Scoring a goal into the opposing team's net is challenging for goaltenders. A fair chance to score exists only when the six-foot-wide net on the other side of the rink is empty, due to the goaltender being pulled for an extra attacker. It is assumed that the opposing goaltender, if in net, does not commit a blunder. All NHL goaltenders who have scored a goal by shooting the puck have done so with an empty net; the ones that have been credited with a goal was as a result of a blunder by the opposing team who had been playing with the extra attacker. When shooting the puck, goaltenders have to shoot from the other end of the rink, since that is where an opportunity to shoot the puck will present itself. Also, the goaltender must shoot the puck with a trajectory and speed so the opposing team cannot stop the puck.
Billy Smith, in the 1979–80 season, was the first goaltender to be credited with a goal; he was the last player to touch the puck before an opposing player put the puck into his own empty net. However, the participation of goaltenders in offense began long before that goal. In the early days of ice hockey, Hall of Fame goaltender Paddy Moran was beaten once by the opposing team's goaltender, though not in the NHL. The Montreal Star reported that poor officiating resulted in only the goaltenders left on the ice; Fred Brophy, the opposing goaltender, and Moran both exchanged scoring attempts, before Brophy beat Moran, while the latter and most of the spectators "convulsed in laughter". The first goaltender credited with an assist in the NHL was Georges Vezina in the 1917–18 season, after a puck rebounded off his leg pad to a teammate who skated the length of the ice to score. In the 1935–36 season, Tiny Thompson became the first goaltender to gain an assist after making an intentional pass. During the Second World War, while playing for the All-Star Canadian Army team, NHL goaltender Chuck Rayner carried the puck down the ice and beat the opposing goaltender; in the NHL, he made numerous unsuccessful attempts to duplicate this feat. In the 1976–77 season, Los Angeles Kings goaltenders Rogatien Vachon briefly became the first goaltender to be credited with a goal when the opposing New York Islanders scored on themselves during a delayed penalty; however, after video review, the goal was given to Vic Venasky as it was determined that he was the last Kings player to touch the puck before it went in the net.
Of the eleven goals scored by NHL goaltenders, six were shot into the opposing team's net by the goaltender. There have been two goaltenders that have scored and earned a shutout in the same game. Damian Rhodes, playing for the Ottawa Senators, was credited with a goal in a 6–0 win over the New Jersey Devils on January 2, 1999, and Jose Theodore, playing for the Montreal Canadiens, shot the puck into the New York Islanders' empty net in a 3–0 victory on January 2, 2001. In addition to being the first goaltender to be credited with a goal, Billy Smith was the only goaltender to have lost the game in which he was credited with or had scored a goal.
Though both Ron Hextall and Martin Brodeur have scored twice, Hextall is the only goaltender to score twice by directly shooting the puck into the opponent's net. Martin Brodeur's second goal was an own goal by the other team, where Brodeur received credit for touching the puck last. Interestingly, it is the only game-winning goal scored by a goaltender. Hextall and Brodeur both scored in a playoff game as well as a regular season game. Ron Hextall's second goal is the only goal scored by a goaltender while his team was short handed, and Evgeni Nabokov's goal is the only one that was scored on a power play.
|*||Goaltender was credited with the goal where the opponent scored an own goal|
|†||Goal was scored by shooting the puck into the opponent's net.|
|Italics||For dates—goals scored in the playoffs; for names—players active in the NHL.|
|Name||Nationality||Team||Season||Date||Opposing team||Final score</br>||Notes</br>|
|Billy Smith||New York Islanders||1979–80||November 28, 1979||Colorado Rockies||4–7||*|
|Ron Hextall||Philadelphia Flyers||1987–88||December 8, 1987||Boston Bruins||5–2||†|
|Ron Hextall||Philadelphia Flyers||1988–89||April 11, 1989||Washington Capitals||8–5||†|
| Chris Osgood
|Detroit Red Wings||1995–96||March 6, 1996||Hartford Whalers||4–2||†|
| Martin Brodeur
|New Jersey Devils||1996–97||Aptil 17, 1997||Montreal Canadiens||5–2||†|
|Damian Rhodes||Ottawa Senators||1998–99||January 2, 1999||New Jersey Devils||6–0||*|
|New Jersey Devils||1999–2000||February 15, 2000||Philadelphia Flyers||4–2||*|
|Montreal Canadiens||2000–01||January 2, 2001||New York Islanders||3–0||†|
|San Jose Sharks||2001–02||March 10, 2002||Vancouver Canucks||7–4||†|
|Mika Noronen||Buffalo Sabres||2003–04||February 14, 2004||Toronto Maple Leafs||6–4||*|
|Nashville Predators||2005–06||April 15, 2006||Phoenix Coyotes||5–1||*|
- ↑ Allen, Duff, Bower; p. 66.
- ↑ Allen, Duff, Bower; p. 83.
- ↑ Allen, Duff, Bower; p. 117.
- ↑ Allen, Duff, Bower; p. 187.
- ↑ Allen, Duff, Bower; p. 51.
- ↑ Allen, Duff, Bower; p. 219.
- ↑ UPI. "Vachon Didn't Score Goal", The Montreal Gazette, 1977-02-17, p. 29. Retrieved on 2010-03-24.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 NHL firsts and lasts—goaltenders to score. NHL. Retrieved on 2008-11-06.
- ↑ Martin Brodeur. New Jersey Devils. Retrieved on 2008-11-07.
- ↑ David Amber (2008-05-13). No shortage of playoff moments for the Broad Street Bullies. ESPN. Retrieved on 2008-11-07.
- ↑ Sharks pummel Canucks; Nabokov scores. CBC (2002-03-11). Retrieved on 2008-11-07.
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