March 04, 2015

Three Goalies In One Game Has Happened Before



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.

5 comments:

Lloyd Davis said...

Just a correction: the Leaf game in 1966 was April 3 versus Detroit. Gord Walker covered the home game on April 2 against Rangers for the Globe and Mail, and noted, "As he had in Boston last Thursday, Imlach platooned his goaltenders. Terry Sawchuk and Bruce Gamble paraded from bench to goal and back again at intervals of as close to five minutes as stoppages of play permitted. Johnny Bower sat out with a slight touch of 'flu." Sawchuk gave up the goal to Don Marshall, Gamble to Vic Hadfield and Billy Hicke.

The legendary Paul Rimstead covered the Sunday game in Detroit. "You could tell Imlach wasn't serious as the two teams wound up the schedule with a 3-3 tie when he sent Johnny Bower out to coach in the third period.… Bower, said to have had influenza Saturday, played the first period as Leafs moved into a 2-0 lead. Sawchuk played the second period, allowing one goal, then everybody blinked as Gamble who had been watching from the press box came out for the third. Bower came out in his street-clothes and took Imlach's place behind the bench and Imlach watched from a nearby seat, the first time he has pulled this caper during his NHL career."

Joe Pelletier said...

Interesting Lloyd. The game summary project does not reflect that. They have three goalies on April 2nd, but two on April 3rd. Here's the link for the 3rd - http://www.flyershistory.com/cgi-bin/poboxscore.cgi?H19650209

Lloyd Davis said...

Yeah, the Hockey Summary Project has a lot of promise, and I haven't contributed to it as much as I'd have liked to, but there are some glitches. The goals, assists and penalties for those two games match what appears in the Globe, as well as the total shots on goal by team. But the list of goaltenders appears to have been swapped.

The AP story in the New York Times of April 3, 1966, also notes, "The Leafs, assured of a third-place finish, alternated two goalies, Terry Sawchuk and Bruce Gamble, as their No. 1 goal-tender, Johnny Bower, took the night off." And Mahovlich sat out the game with a knee injury.

Unknown said...

Joe, your list matches the list I have.

As for the HSP, I've been doing an audit of the data as I work to back-fill my goaltender game logs for http://hockeygoalies.org (currently working through 1975-76), and it's a tremendous resource but not 100% accurate. Actually, the biggest systematic error appears to be when two goaltenders of the same last name (Don and Gary Edwards, Al/Gary/Billy Smith) play in the same game, the statistics get doubled up.

I'm tracking things that I find as I go to ultimately fix in HSP, although the announcement of full NHL boxscores by 2016 may make my efforts moot.

Kensey Dedeus said...

Which NHL team used two goalies at once in the early 1900's

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