Ron Hextall won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender in 1986-87, his rookie season. He led his Philadelphia Flyers to the '87 Stanley Cup Final, where they lost in seven games to the Edmonton Oilers -- but was so good he became one of five members of the losing team to take home the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs. During the series, Wayne Gretzky called Hextall "probably the best goaltender I've ever played against." He played 13 seasons in the NHL and was enshrined in the Flyers Hall of Fame in 2008.
For all his shot-stopping abilities, Hextall also was the most aggressive goaltender the NHL had seen, legendary for his fiery and physical nature on the ice. His prodigious puck-handling and passing abilities made him almost a third defenseman on the ice for the Flyers. Thus, it scarcely came as a surprise when, on Dec. 8, 1987, Hextall became the first NHL goaltender to score a goal by shooting the puck into the net. The goal, scored at 18:48 of the third period, put Philadelphia up 5-2 on the Boston Bruins in front of a capacity Spectrum crowd.
On the 25th anniversary of Hextall's achievement, NHL.com talked with Hextall and the teammates, commentators and opponents who were on hand to witness history.