Reto Berra joined some heady company on Friday when he scored a goal by shooting the puck down the ice in an AHL game. It’s a rare occasion when a goalie gets credit for the other team scoring on their own net, but it’s even rarer for a goalie to actually score on a shot.
It’s such a tremendous freak occurrence that each instance is a footnote in the history books.
Fourteen goalies have received credit for scoring a goal in NHL history, but only seven of those goals were scored by a goalie who actually shot the puck down the ice.
In honour of Berra’s great goal (and even greater celebration), here’s a look at those goals.
Note: If they sound repetitive, they are. The goalie’s team gets a two-goal lead, the goalie stops a dump-in, the goalie throws it over everyone’s heads and hits the net at the other end.
And yet it never gets old.
1. Ron Hextall
When a goalie scores these days, most people react with a mixture of laughter and incredulity. But when Ron Hextall scored the first goal actually shot by a goaltender, he was mobbed on the ice by his teammates and celebrated loudly by the play-by-play announcers.
Hextall was notorious for his temper, but he was also well-known for his ability to play the puck well. He established that puckhandling reputation early by scoring his first career goal as a sophomore player on Dec. 8, 1987.
The goal came after the Boston Bruins pulled their netminder. Hextall corralled the puck in his end and fired it down the ice. The puck rolled between two defenders and into the net.
Flyers forward Derrick Smith retrieved the historic piece of rubber for his goaltender.
The crowd roared their praise, and the Flyers mobbed Hextall with congratulations.
2. Ron Hextall (2)
Hextall’s second career goal came a little more than a year after the first, this time in an April 11, 1989 playoff game against the Washington Capitals.
Hextall’s Flyers were killing a penalty and his defencemen were routinely handing him the puck to lob down the ice. The Capitals were getting frustrated with the approach, so they pulled their goalie to erase the Flyers’ two-goal lead.
Hextall’s first goal may have been a surprise, but his second one is nicely telegraphed by the game announcer.
“Keep in mind, the Flyers have a two goal lead and the Flyers are also shorthanded. And there may be time for a first for Hextall in the playoffs,” the announcer says.
No sooner do the words leave the announcer’s mouth than Hextall snares a dump-in and golfs it down the ice for the goal, making it 8-5 Flyers.
3. Chris Osgood
Detroit Red Wing goalie Chris Osgood scored on a goal on March 6, 1996 against the Hartford Whalers, becoming only the second netminder to actually shoot the puck in the net, after Ron Hextall.
Osgood caught a dump-in and lobbed it down the ice, sending it skittering and sliding into the Whalers’ net.
4. Martin Brodeur
Former New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur is legendary for his puckhandling abilities, so it’s no surprise he leads all goalies in goal-scoring with three. What might come as a surprise is that two of those goals were given to him after opposing players scored on their own nets.
Brodeur only scored once with a shot on goal, and it came against the Montreal Canadiens team he grew up idolizing.
Brodeur stopped the puck behind the net and blasted it down the rink from beside his goal, catching the Canadiens by surprise and burying it in the back of their net.
The goal came during an April 17, 1997 playoff game, making Brodeur the second netminder to score in the post-season.
Brodeur slapped the ice with his paddle in celebration afterward.
And the best part?
He could’ve scored that goal even with the trapezoid to restrict puckhandling goalies.
5. Jose Theodore
Jose Theodore’s 2001 goal was a total fluke, but it made history for a couple reasons. It was the first goalie goal scored with a backhanded shot, and the second goal scored by a goalie who registered a shutout in the same game. Theodore scored the goal for the Montreal Canadiens in a 3-0 win over the New York Islanders on Jan. 2, 2001.
The goal came when Theodore stopped a dump-in behind his net and backhanded it hard out of the zone. It bounced just right and wound up in the Islanders’ net in the dying minutes of the game.
The video footage is pretty terrible, but you can still see how “Ho-zay” Theodore scored.
And yes, that’s Michel Therrien version 1.0 hiding his laughter on the Canadiens’ bench.
6. Evgeni Nabokov
The San Jose Sharks’ Evgeni Nabokov became the first European goalie to score when he put it into the Vancouver Canucks’ empty net.
Nabokov stopped the puck on a dump-in and didn’t quite know what to do with it. His defenceman wouldn’t take it, so Nabokov threw it down the ice and it went in at the corner of the net.
7. Mike Smith
Arizona Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith is one of the last great puckhandling goalies left in the game, and he used that skill to score on Detroit on Oct. 19, 2013.
Smith scored into an empty net with 0.1 seconds remaining in the game to make it 5-2.
He accomplished the feat in much the same way Reto Berra did it – by snagging a puck in his crease, quickly dropping it to his stick and lobbing it down the ice.