There was a bizarre occurrence in the Florida Panthers 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.
Starting goaltender Roberto Luongo left the game after the first period after taking a shot high in the shoulder. Things got really interesting when back up goalie Al Montoya also had to leave the game with a lower body injury. The Florida Panthers were suddenly out of goaltenders in a game with serious playoff implications for them.
Montoya's injury caused a long delay of game while the Panthers tried to find a goalie. Montoya returned again, with goalie coach, former NHL goalie Rob Tallas, dressed and signed to an amateur contract and sitting on the bench. Tallas, by the way, also served as an emergency back up goalie for Florida in the 2012-13 season.
Montoya was clearly unable to continue, but instead of the 41 year old Tallas getting into his 100th NHL game, Roberto Luongo shocked everyone by rising from the dead to return to the net. He put in an admirable performance but the Panthers still lost the game.
No one seems to remember this ever happening in the modern day NHL. I found two relatively recent occurrences.
On May 16, 1995, the Washington Capitals tried three goalies to stop the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 7-1 playoff loss. Tomas Sandstrom, Luc Robitaille and Jaromir Jagr each scored two goals. Thankfully for the Caps that was the year Mario Lemieux sat out due to injury!
Starting goalie Jim Carey was pulled due to a bad start, only to return after back up Olie Kolzig tore cartilage in his right knee. But to start the third period spare goalie Byron Dafoe was in Washington's net.
Now this was a playoff game and teams always have a spare goalie around. And they are permitted to dress the third goalie should another goalie get injured. But he's not supposed to play unless both of the other goalies are injured. Carey obviously came down with some sort of a suspicious ailment in that intermission.
But I found another regular season occurrence.
On December 5th, 1991 the San Jose Sharks were blown out 8-0 by, you guessed it, the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mario Lemieux was there that time, and he scored 2 goals and 4 assists that night.
The Sharks goaltending trio of Jeff Hackett and Arturs Irbe were unable to stop Pittsburgh that night, and got injured in the process. Veteran goalie Brian Hayward came out of the stands that night to finish off the game.
The St. Louis Blues twice used three goalies in a game and it came about a month apart in 1968.
On November 13th, 1968 Glenn Hall was actually ejected from the game. Robbie Irons replaced him briefly while Jacques Plante got dressed to finish off the game. It was Irons only NHL appearance.
A month later, on December 11th, Plante had to leave the game against Chicago after taking a Stan Mikita shot to the head (yes, Plante was wearing a mask at this time). Gary Edwards took over, but Glenn Hall somehow finished the game.
The coach for St. Louis back then was . . . Scotty Bowman! Because he had aging legends Hall and Plante for goalies, he gave the non-starter the complete day off, and had others like Irons and Edwards sit on the bench. After these two incidents the NHL cracked down on Bowman's sneaky ways.
The only other example I can find came on April 2, 1966, the Toronto Maple Leafs used three goaltenders in a 3-3 tie against the visiting New York Rangers. Each of Johnny Bower, Terry Sawchuk and Bruce Gamble played one period and allowed one goal. Of course there was no regular season overtime in 1965-66.