Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne established himself as one of the NHL’s elite players when he won the Vezina Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL’s best goaltender, in 2018.
But on Thursday night he added something more unique to his resume — a goalie goal.
Rinne became the first NHL goaltender since 2013 to score a goal when he added the last tally of the Predators’ 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Rinne’s chance came in the game’s final minute, after the Blackhawks had pulled their goalie to add an extra attacker in an attempt to make up the deficit.
After taking possession of a Blackhawks dump-in behind his own goal, Rinne realized there weren’t any opposing players close to the Chicago net.
He took his time and wound up before launching the puck high in the air, over all six Blackhawks skaters and into the empty net at the opposite end of the ice.
Rinne, who had attempted similar shots several times in years past, was quickly mobbed by his teammates.
Before Thursday, just 11 goaltenders had ever been credited with a goal in an NHL game, according to Reuters.
Two of them (Ron Hextall, twice, and Martin Brodeur, three times) have done it on multiple occasions.
Of the 12 goalies to score goals, only eight of them have actually shot the puck into the net.
NHL rules dictate that if a player puts the puck into his own net, the last player on the opposing team to touch the puck is credited with the goal.
That is how the other goaltenders’ goals came about.
The first goalie to score with an intentional shot on the opponent’s goal was Hextall, who did it while playing for the Philadelphia Flyers in 1987.
Note how the announcer foreshadowed the goal roughly five seconds before it occurred:
Most recently prior to Thursday, goalie Mike Smith scored for the Phoenix Coyotes against the Detroit Red Wings in 2013.
His shot crossed the goal line with exactly one-tenth of a second left on the clock:
When asked about his goal after the game, Rinne couldn’t hide his excitement.
“I was like a little kid, you know. Obviously I’ve never scored a goal before so it was for sure a special thing,” he told Fox Sports.
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