The 12 NHL Goaltenders That Scored a Goal

When a goalie is the last person to touch the puck before it gets into the net, he can get praised for that.

Scoring a goal into the opposing team’s net is a real challenge for goaltenders. A fair opportunity to score exists when the six-foot-wide net on the other side of the rink is empty. This is due to the goaltender being pulled as an extra attacker

All National Hockey League goalies who scored by shooting the puck did it with an empty-net. The ones credited with a goal resulted from an error by the opposing team who played as an extra attacker. 

When shooting the puck, goaltenders have to shoot from the other end of the rink since that is where an opening will present itself. The goaltenders must also shoot the puck with a trajectory and velocity so the opposing team cannot stop the puck.

Billy Smith

William John Smith is a former professional ice hockey goaltender from Canada. He was the first goaltender credited with a goal and won four Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders. Smith was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history in 2017.

On November 28, 1979, in a game between the Islanders versus Colorado Rockies, the latter’s goaltender left the ice after a late penalty call. 

The puck deflected off of Smith’s chest protector into the corner. Rockies rookie Rob Ramage picked up the puck and unexpectedly made a blind pass from the opposing zone’s corner boards to the blue line. Nobody was there to receive the pass. As a result, the puck slided down the ice’s length and into the opponent’s net. Smith was credited with the goal, as he was the last Islanders player to touch the puck.

Smith retired in 1989 and he was the last pioneer team member still with the Islanders. After four years as the Islanders’ goaltending coach, he followed general manager Bill Torrey to Florida Panthers. He served as a goalie coach until his retirement in 2000. He spent 30 years at the NHL, 27 of those were with Torrey with the Islanders (1973-1992) and the Panthers (1992-2000).

The Islanders retired his #31 on February 20, 1993. Later that year, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, the only goalie inducted in the Hall in the 1990s. In 1998, he was ranked number 80 on The Hockey News’ list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.

Ron Hextall

Ronald Jeffrey Hextall is a former professional ice hockey goaltender from Canada. He played 13 NHL seasons for the Philadelphia Flyers, Quebec Nordiques, and New York Islanders

He served as assistant general manager for the Flyers for one season. He was then promoted to general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers, replacing Paul Holmgren on May 7, 2014. He held this position for four and a half seasons.

Prior to this, he was the general manager for the Los Angeles Kings, who won the Stanley Cup in 2012.

Hextall played 11 of his 13 seasons with the Flyers. He holds numerous team records and is a member of the Flyers Hall of Fame. During his rookie season in 1986–87, he was awarded the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender and led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals. Despite the Flyers’ loss against the Edmonton Oilers, he won the Conn Smythe Trophy MVP.

Injuries in the middle of his career contributed to a drop in his playing ability. As a result, he was traded on three occasions in the off-seasons between 1992 and 1994 to the Nordiques, the Islanders, and then back to the Flyers. 

When he retired to the Philadelphia, Hextall regained confidence and form. He recorded a goals-against average (GAA) below 3.00 in each of his five subsequent seasons – the lowest of his career. He retired from the NHL at the end of the 1998–99 season.

Hextall became the first NHL goaltender to score a goal by shooting the puck into the opponent’s empty net.

His mobile style of play is supporting his defensemen by coming out of the goal area. It was a revolutionary playstyle and inspired future generations of goaltenders.

He was also known for being one of the NHL’s most aggressive goaltenders. Hextall was suspended for six or more games on three occasions, had more than 100 penalty minutes in each of his first three seasons, and set new records for the number of penalty minutes recorded by a goaltender in the NHL.

Chris Osgood

Christopher John Osgood is a former professional ice hockey goaltender from Canada. He is ranked twelfth in wins in NHL regular-season history with 401.

Osgood spent the first part of his 17-year NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings before moving to the New York Islanders and the St. Louis Blues. He returned to Detroit in 2005. He won three Stanley Cup championships in his career, all with the Red Wings, with two of them coming while he was starting goaltender. 

In Detroit, he was known by his nicknames “Ozzie,” chanted by the crowd after a big save, and “The Wizard of Oz.” Osgood is currently a Detroit Red Wings studio analyst and part-time color commentator for Fox Sports Detroit.

Osgood was the last NHL goalie to wear a traditional player’s helmet-cage combo instead of the newer one-piece goalie mask. That was until Rick DiPietro briefly wore one of Osgood’s in 2011 after being injured in a fight with Brent Johnson.

He is also one of only 12 goaltenders in NHL history to have scored a goal and one of only seven to have scored by shooting the puck into the opponent’s net.

Martin Brodeur

Martin Pierre Brodeur is a Canadian-American former professional ice hockey goaltender and current team executive. 

He played 22 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL), 21 of them for the New Jersey Devils, wherein he won three Stanley Cup championships and five Eastern Conference championships. He also won two Olympic gold medals with Team Canada in the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Brodeur is widely regarded as one of the greatest goaltenders of all time. In 2017, he was named by the league as one of the “100 Greatest NHL Players“, and the following year, he was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

He holds numerous NHL and franchise records among goaltenders. He ranks as the league’s all-time regular-season leader in wins (691), losses (397), shutouts (125), and games played (1,266). He won at least 30 games in twelve straight seasons between 1995–96 and 2007–08 and is the only goalie in NHL history with eight 40-win seasons. 

Brodeur is a four-time Vezina Trophy winner, a five-time William M. Jennings Trophy winner, a ten-time NHL All-Star, and a Calder Memorial Trophy winner. He is one of only 12 NHL goaltenders to score a goal in the regular season and only the second to do so in the playoffs.

He used a hybrid style of goaltending by standing up more than typical butterfly style goalies. However, he adapted to more modern techniques at the latter stage of his career. He was known for his puck handling, positional play, and reflexes, especially with his glove. 

Brodeur’s prowess at puck handling was so well known that it led the NHL to change its rules on where goalies can handle the puck outside of the goal crease. This is what is now known as “The Brodeur Rule.” 

He announced his retirement in the middle of the 2014–15 season after a brief stint with the St. Louis Blues, having played in seven games with the team. He is the current executive vice president of business development for the Devils.

Damian Rhodes

Damian Rhodes is an American former professional ice hockey goaltender. He played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, and Atlanta Thrashers over eleven NHL seasons. 

He became the first player in Thrashers’ franchise history when he was acquired in June 1999.

The Toronto Maple Leafs drafted Rhodes in the 6th round of the 1987 Entry Draft, 112th overall. After being drafted by the Maple Leafs, Rhodes attended Michigan Tech University. This is where he posted a 37-49-1 record over three seasons with the Huskies. While at Michigan Tech, Rhodes was credited with scoring a game goal on January 21, 1989.

Rhodes made his NHL debut on March 22, 1992, as he was called up from the Newmarket Saints of the American Hockey League near the end of the season. Rhodes showed some potential in a 3-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

Rhodes spent the next couple of seasons with the St. John’s Maple Leafs before serving as a backup to Felix Potvin from the 1993–94 season to 1995–96.

To secure a full-time starting job, Rhodes was traded in January 1996, in a three-way deal between the Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, and New York Islanders.

Rhodes was established as the Sens starting goaltender shortly after the trade. He posted a 10-22-4 record, mainly in part to playing in front of a shaky defensive corps. His solid play, however, led him to be considered the Senators goalie of the future.

Rhodes split goaltending duties with Ron Tugnutt during his first full season with the team. He posted a 14-20-4 record with a 2.72 GAA in 50 games. Rhodes served as the team’s backup in the franchise’s first-ever playoff series against the Buffalo Sabres, in which he saw no action.

Rhodes was established as the Thrashers starting goaltender following the trade. However, his first season with the team was a forgettable one. He started the season posting a 3-7-2 record before missing 49 games with a sprained ankle. Rhodes returned to the lineup but posted a 2-12-1 record upon returning from injury. Rhodes had the distinction of recording both the franchise’s first win, road win, and shutout in a 2-0 defeat of the New York Islanders on October 14, 1999.

Rhodes would continue to struggle with injuries throughout his tenure with the Thrashers. He posted a 7-19-7 record during the 2000-01 season, although he missed significant time due to injuries to his knee and shoulder. Rhodes’ struggle to stay healthy cost him the team’s goaltending job to Milan Hnilicka, who played well in his absence.

Rhodes’s final season for Atlanta came during the 2001–02 season. He struggled to stay in the Thrashers lineup, missing significant time due to injuries. Rhodes finished the season with a 2-10-1 record and a 3.67 GAA over 15 games.

José Théodore

José Nicolas Théodore (born September 13, 1976) is a Canadian retired professional ice hockey goaltender. He played in the NHL for the Montreal Canadiens, Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals, Minnesota Wild, and Florida Panthers.

Théodore played major junior in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), where he won a President’s Cup as QMJHL champions. He also competed in the Memorial Cup with the Hull Olympiques in 1995. He won both the Ford Cup as the top defensive player and Guy Lafleur Trophy as playoff MVP in 1995 and is a two-time QMJHL Second Team All-Star. Drafted 44th overall by the Canadiens in 1994, Théodore played eight seasons in Montreal, where he won the Vezina and Hart trophies, both in 2002. 

In 2006, he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche, where he played two full seasons. Théodore also played two seasons for the Washington Capitals. Internationally, Théodore won a gold medal with Canada at the 1996 World Junior Championships. This is where he was named the tournament’s best goaltender. He also started for Canada at the 2001 World Championships and was a backup for the 2004 World Cup.

Evgeni Nabokov

Yevgeni Viktorovich Nabokov is a retired Kazakhstani-Russian professional ice hockey goaltender who played for the NHL, Russian Super League (RSL), and Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) from 1991 to 2015. 

Nabokov was selected 219th overall in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft by San Jose. And during his time with the Sharks, he was regarded as one of the NHL’s top goaltenders. He also won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the best first-year player in 2001 and was voted a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the best goaltender in 2008. 

He departed the NHL for the first time in 2010 to play for SKA Saint Petersburg in Russia, but returned soon after and concluded his career in the NHL. After retiring, Nabokov took up a role as a development coach for the Sharks, and in 2019 was named the goaltending coach for the team.

In his first nine seasons in the NHL, Nabokov became the team leader in nearly every goaltending category. At his retirement, he had the eighteenth most all-time NHL regular-season wins.

In 2002, he scored a goal, the seventh goalie in NHL history to do so, and the first not from North America.

Born in the then-Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, Nabokov first played internationally with Kazakhstan at the 1994 World Championships Group C.

He later joined the Russian national team and played for them from 2006. This includes the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics, wherein he won gold at the 2008 World Championships.

Mika Noronen

Mika Noronen is a Finnish former professional ice hockey goaltender. He last played for the LeKi of the Mestis, the second-tier ice hockey league in Finland. 

He played in the National Hockey League (NHL) with the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks.

The Buffalo Sabres drafted Noronen in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft with pick number 21. In his native Finland, he has played for Tappara and HPK in the SM-Liiga. He has also played for the Rochester Americans in the AHL.

While with the Rochester Americans, he gained some notoriety in a 2002 game against the Syracuse Crunch. A Crunch forward fired a slap shot past Noronen, which hit the crossbar and bounced away. However, the goal judge signaled it was a goal. The play was stopped, and the goal was counted. Noronen sprayed his water bottle’s contents on the glass and wiped it away, pretending to clean the glass for the goal judge.

At the trade deadline in the 2005–06 season, Noronen was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. On March 14, 2006, Noronen played his first game as a Vancouver Canuck, allowing five goals in a 5–0 loss to the Nashville Predators.

Noronen was the first Finnish goaltender to be credited with a goal in the National Hockey League, a rare feat in itself. He was also the first Buffalo Sabres goaltender to accomplish the feat.

Meanwhile, he was the last Buffalo player to touch the puck before entering the opponent’s empty net on a delayed penalty on February 14, 2004.

Chris Mason

Christopher Robert Mason is a Canadian former professional ice hockey goaltender. 

He most recently played with Augsburger Panther of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL). He previously played for four different National Hockey League (NHL) teams.

Mason currently serves as the color analyst on FOX Sports Tennessee.

Mason made his international debut with Canada at the 2006 World Championships but did not play. He won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2007 World Championships as a third goaltender. He played his first game at the 2009 World Championships in Switzerland, where he went 4–0 with a 1.00 GAA and helped Canada to a silver medal.

Due to his strong performance in the 2009 World Championships and the NHL regular season, Mason was selected as a reserve by Team Canada for the 2010 Winter Olympics. He would play as the starting goaltender at the 2010 World Championships in Germany, where they lost against Team Russia in the quarter-finals. Mason also played for Team Canada at the 2013 Spengler Cup.

Cam Ward

Cameron Kenneth Ward is a Canadian former professional ice hockey goaltender. He played the majority of his fifteen-year professional career for the Carolina Hurricanes. He played for the Chicago Blackhawks during his final season before signing a one-day contract to retire in 2019 officially.

Ward was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, growing up there and in the Edmonton suburb of Sherwood Park, Alberta. During his three-year junior career in the Western Hockey League (WHL) with the Red Deer Rebels, he was selected 25th overall by the Hurricanes in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. 

After a season with the Lowell Lock Monsters, an American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, he won the Stanley Cup in 2006. He also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs. He became the first starting goaltender to win the Stanley Cup as a rookie since Patrick Roy in 1986.

Mike Smith

Mike Smith is a Canadian-born professional ice hockey goaltender. He currently plays for the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League (NHL). 

He has previously played for the Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, Arizona Coyotes, and the Calgary Flames. He is the 11th goaltender in NHL history to score a goal, which he did in the 2013–14 season against the Detroit Red Wings in Phoenix. A two-time NHL All-Star (2017, 2018), he was named the 2014 Canadian Olympic Hockey Team, winning a gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Pekka Rinne

Pekka Rinne is a Finnish professional hockey goaltender for the Nashville Predators

Drafted by the Predators in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Rinne became their starting goaltender during the 2008–09 season. He then quickly established himself as one of the NHL’s best goaltenders. 

He was a Vezina Trophy finalist as the NHL’s top regular-season goaltender in 2011, 2012, and 2015 before winning the award in 2018.

Rinne is currently Nashville’s franchise leader in wins and shutouts and is a four-time NHL All-Star. He also holds the record for the most NHL victories by a Finland-born goaltender. Rinne is one of only 12 NHL goaltenders to score a goal in either the regular season or the playoffs.


The 12 NHL goalies mentioned above have been credited with 15 goals: 13 in the regular season and two in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Eight of the 15 were scored by a goalie who shot the puck into an empty net. Meanwhile, the others happened because the goalies were the last to touch the puck before an opposing team member put it into his own net.

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