Goalies, so hot right now.... Goalies.
First up we have Nashville's Pekka Rinne, who has seemingly been the Predators tendy for 40 years now. That is of course impossible since he is 37, but man that guy has been between the pipes for a long time in Smashville, longer than Eric Devendorf was at Syracuse. Unfortunately, Rinne, despite all his individual accolades, has never won a Stanley Cup, though the Preds came close in 2017.
On Thursday, Rinne may have done the only thing harder for a goalie to do than win a Cup: score a goal. With a 4-2 lead on the road against Chicago and under a minute to play, the Blackhawks pulled their goalie. On a routine dump-in with 30 seconds to go, Rinne corraled the puck behind his cage, turned and fired away:
It's a moment every goaltender dreams of, but also one that comes along so seldomly. You'd think with goalies getting pulled every night that netminders would have more chances, but it's simply not the case. Attempting to shoot at the opposing net as a goalie, let alone pulling it off, takes an incredible level of skill with the goalie stick, quick-thinking and poise, which is why only seven goalies have ever done it in the history of the sport. The last to do it was Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2013-2014 season. Smith's was one of the most impressive because it came right after he made an easy glove save, immediately dropped it down in his own crease and SENT IT:
Others to do it: Ron Hextall (twice!), Chris Osgood, Martin Brodeur, Jose Theodore and Evgeni Nabokov. A number of others have been credited with a goal, but that was because the other team scored an own goal. That group of seven, which now includes Rinne, are the only ones to scored one from their own stick. An elite club.
And yet, it may not have been the best play a goalie made all night. That play belonged to New York Rangers rookie goaltender Igor Shestyorkin:
OK, I'm kidding. I'm not THAT big of a Rangers homer. This was a sick save, though. Thank you for your service Henrik Lundqvist, but the IGOR ERA is officially underway.
On to the real best play of the night by a goalie, which belonged to Minnesota's Alex Stalock. Check out this unbelievable pass to his teammate Mats Zuccarello, who found the back of the net to earn Stalock the assist of the year for a goalie:
Rinne's goal was a history-maker, but a great assist is always better than a great goal. Sick pass from Stalock. What a night for the tenders.