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NHL Centennial

Hurricanes, Panthers played final tie 13 years ago

Defenseman Brad Fast scored what would be historic goal in only NHL appearance on April 4, 2004

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor

When Brad Fast made his NHL debut on April 4, 2004, he had no idea he would become part of League history.

Fast was a 24-year-old defenseman who was called up from Lowell of the American Hockey League by the Carolina Hurricanes to play in their season finale against the Florida Panthers.

He scored a goal in that game, the only one he would ever play in the NHL. He is one of five players in League history to score a goal in his only NHL appearance.

But what made Fast's goal stand out was the fact that it resulted in the final tie in League history.

Video: Memories: Relive the final tie in NHL history

With each team having long since been eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoff race, there wasn't a lot of defense being played at Office Depot Center (now BB&T Center) on the final day of the 2003-04 season. Carolina scored four goals in the first period. Florida came back with three in the second and scored three more in the first 6:23 of the third period to take a 6-4 lead.

Carolina's Eric Staal scored at 15:04 to make it 6-5 to give Fast the chance to make history.

Fast joined a rush with Rod Brind'Amour and Erik Cole. He took a pass from Brind'Amour and shot over the shoulder of Florida goaltender Roberto Luongo from the top of the circle at 17:34 of the third period to get the Hurricanes even at 6-6.

When the teams didn't score during the remainder of the third and in the five-minute overtime, the game ended as a 6-6 tie. Fast was credited with the tying goal.

"I tried joining the rush, but nothing happened," Fast told the NHL Network in 2011. "So I went back and circled low. Brind'Amour fed me the puck, I kicked it up to my stick, and I think it hit something in front and beat Luongo up high."

There was another tie that day, but the Devils-Flyers game began at 1:05 p.m., two hours before the Panthers and Hurricanes dropped the puck.

After a lockout canceled the 2004-05 season, the introduction of the shootout in 2005-06 put an end to tie games and left Fast owning a distinction that will last a lifetime.

Fast, who was paired mostly with Sean Hill, finished the game with one goal, four shots on goal and a plus-1 rating in 21:24 of ice time in what turned out to be his lone NHL game. He played seven more seasons of pro hockey in the minors, Europe and South Korea before retiring in 2011.

"Playing in the NHL is the ultimate goal of pretty much any hockey player," he told the Globe and Mail in 2013. "And to be honest, that day was the best day of my hockey life. It was awesome.

"I had a lot of fun, I accomplished a dream. I wish I would have kept going, but it was what it was and I got to play in one game. It is kind of what you prepare for your whole life, hockey-wise."

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