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O’Byrne’s own-goal far from the worst puck blunder in recent memory

BY CARRIE SCHIMIZZI

During Monday night’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Islanders, Montreal defenseman Ryan O’Byrne produced the Islanders’ tying goal by shooting the puck into his own net.

The incident occurred when O’Byrne, unaware of a delayed penalty call on Sean Bergenheim, slid the puck towards his own net. Unfortunately, Montreal goaltender Carey Price was off the ice for an extra attacker and the puck slowly slid into the gaping mesh.

O’Byrne later apologized for the blunder and blamed himself for the Canadiens losing a point. Although Habs fans are reeling today, they can take comfort in the fact O’Byrne’s own-goal isn’t close to the most costly mistake in NHL history.

There have been more than a few memorable goal gaffes in recent memory:

• Pittsburgh netminder Marc Andre Fleury is known for his aggression as well as his quick legs in net; however, it was his backside that gave him problems during Game 6 of the 2007-08 Stanley Cup final.

At 7:36 of the third period, Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg shot a puck that slid between Fleury’s legs, but stopped short of the goal line. Unable to see where the puck was, Fleury instinctively fell back on the puck.

In doing so, he pushed the Cup-winning goal into the back of the net.

• Just one year earlier, during Game 5 of the 2007 Stanley Cup final, Ottawa defenseman Chris Phillips scored on his own goal when his pass went off the skates of goaltender Ray Emery and into the net.

The goal would be the Cup-winner in a 6-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

• During Game 1 of the 1996 Western Conference final, Detroit defenseman Paul Coffey accidentally redirected a pass from Stephane Yelle into his own net.

The Colorado Avalanche eventually won the game 3-2 in overtime and went on to their first Stanley Cup championship, sweeping Florida 4-0.

• Perhaps the best-remembered and most loathed own-goal (in Edmonton, at least) came courtesy of one of the Oilers’ top defensemen, Steve Smith.

During Game 7 of the Smythe Division final, Smith shot a pass off goaltender Grant Fuhr’s left skate into the net, breaking a 2-2 tie with the Calgary Flames and knocking the Oilers out of the 1986 playoffs.

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