The Boston Bruins have arguably been the team to beat for this entire season, with only the Carolina Hurricanes getting anywhere close to touching their success. Along with the best statistical defense in the league, they also boast the second best offense. Forwards like David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and more have carried this team on the scoring end.
In Saturday’s win in Vancouver, Marchard once again made his mark on the score sheet. But surprisingly, so did goaltender Linus Ullmark. Ullmark has been the leader for the Vezina award, for the best goaltender, practically the entire season. He leads the league with career highs in save percentage, wins and goals against average, thanks in part to the deep defense supporting him.
But scoring a goal is a whole other level of impressive. The ’insurance” goal came with an empty net, but doesn’t take away from how improbable the score is. The lob gives Ullmark the ninth goal by a goalie’s own shot in league history. New Jersey Devils legend Martin Brodeur found the net three times in his career, though only one of them was his own shot.
Philadelphia Flyers legend Ron Hextall did it twice, the only goalie to score multiple goals on their own. He also happened to be the first goalie to accomplish the feat, and did so against the Bruins back in 1987. His second goal came two years later, and was the first to be scored in a playoff game.
Hall of Famer Brodeur, who spent 21 seasons with the New Jersey Devils and one with St. Louis, had an interesting relationship with goal scoring. While Brodeur only shot the puck down the ice for a goal once, he was credited with two other goals. He received credit in 2000 for a goal when Flyers’ Daymond Langkow scored into his own net with 9:43 remaining to give New Jersey a 3-1 lead that would carry into a 4-2 victory.
He was also tabbed for a goal against the Hurricanes in 2013, when Jordan Staal misfired on a pass that went toward an empty Carolina net after Dan Ellis had left his crease on a delayed penalty. Since Ellis was still on the ice heading to the bench, Brodeur was credited as having scored a goal against Ellis.
Ullmark’s goal is the first scored by a goalie since Pekka Rinne did it for the Nashville Predators back in 2020. No goalie has ever scored a goal and then gone on to win the Vezina Trophy in the same season. Ullmark is in a strong position to become the first to accomplish the feat. Current odds have him as the top option for the award, followed by Connor Hellebuyck and Ilya Sorokin. Last year the award was won by Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers. They were bounced out in the conference finals, while Ullmark and the Bruins look to surpass that mark.