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NHL Roundup : Hextall's Goal Is Truly a First for Goaltenders

December 09, 1987|DAN HAFNER

Ron Hextall scored the first legitimate goal by a goaltender in National Hockey League history Tuesday night at Philadelphia in the Flyers' 5-2 victory over the Boston Bruins.

With the Flyers holding a 4-2 lead and time running out, the Bruins removed their goaltender for a sixth attacker. Hextall, often criticized for coming too far out of the crease, retrieved the puck near the right faceoff circle. He shot the puck down the ice and into the empty net.

This was the second NHL goal credited to a goalie. The other, by Billy Smith of the New York Islanders in 1979, was scored by an opponent, but Smith was closest to the player who shot it into the wrong net.

Last week, Bob Froese of the New York Rangers was credited with a goal under similar circumstances, but a tape replay showed that Froese didn't deserve the goal.

Hextall's goal climaxed a four-goal third-period rally that wiped out Boston's 2-1 lead. During the rally, Peter Zezel scored twice on power plays.

"The first time they dumped it in, I didn't have much time, so I just cleared the puck," Hextall said. "The second time, I had a lot of time and I figured, 'What the heck, go for it.'

"I don't understand why it was never done before. I knew that one day I would get the chance. My teammates were all for it."

Hextall also had a message for Billy Smith. "Tell him I got the first real one."

One of the reasons Hextall scored is that he uses a curved stick. Most goalies use straight bladed sticks. Few of them handle the puck as much as Hextall, and they don't usually make long passes, either.

Hextall lifted the puck over the oncoming players and it landed at about the Bruin blue line and slid into the net, catching the right post and going in.

Calgary 5, Washington 4--Mike Bullard's second goal of the game with 6:57 left in regulation, broke a 3-3 tie at Landover, Md., and enabled the Flames to extend their unbeaten string to nine (7-0-2).

The Flames battled back from a 3-1 deficit to pull out the victory and take sole possession of first place in the Smythe Division.

"That was one where we played 22 minutes of hockey and got lucky and won," Coach Terry Crisp said.

Montreal 3, New York Islanders 2--The battle between the two division leaders in the Wales Conference was decided by Claude Lemieux in the last period at Uniondale, N.Y.

Lemieux's 40-foot slap shot at 6:34 of the third period extended the Canadiens' unbeaten streak to five games. With an 18-7-6 record, the Canadiens lead the Adams Division by six points and have the best record in the league.

Until Lemieux's decisive goal, Kelly Hrudey, in the nets for the Islanders, and Patrick Roy played brilliantly and on even terms.

Hartford 5, Quebec 4--John Anderson's power-play goal with 5:30 remaining in regulation at Quebec gave the Whalers the victory.

The Nordiques, in their second game under Coach Ron Lapointe, fought back from a 4-1 deficit in their bid to win their second in a row.

Minnesota 3, Vancouver 2--Scott Bjugstad scored the game-winning goal at 13:26 of the second period at Vancouver as neither team was able to capitalize on its opportunities in the third period.

The Canucks pulled goalie Kirk McLean for a sixth attacker at 18:45, and Minnesota missed from in close in its attempt to score the insurance goal.

The North Stars are now 4-1-1 in their last six games, the only loss a 10-4 trouncing by the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.

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