One of the quirkiest “firsts” in Senators history happened during a game on Jan. 2, 1999, between Ottawa and the New Jersey Devils, when Sens goalie Damian Rhodes scored a goal.
The Sens were leading the Devils 1-0 when New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur left his net on a delayed penalty. Rhodes deflected a shot attempt, then Devils defenceman Lyle Odelein tried to pass the puck to the point. Defenceman Scott Neidermeyer missed Odelein’s pass, allowing the puck to travel all the way down the ice into the empty Devils goal.
After several minutes of review, officials awarded the goal to Damian Rhodes because he was the last Senator to touch the puck before it went into the net. He became the first goaltender in NHL history to score a goal in a shutout victory, making 30 saves in the eventual 6-0 Sens win.
Over four seasons and 181 games with the Senators, Rhodes registered one goal and six assists, 11 shutouts (third all-time) and 65 wins (fourth all-time). He also holds the franchise record for most consecutive starts (25).
He remains the only Ottawa goalie to be credited with a goal, and is one of only 10 goalies to score a goal in an NHL game. (Brodeur has done so twice – once in the playoffs and once in the regular season.)
Billy Smith, a native of Perth, Ont., was the first modern-era goalie to be credited with a goal when he scored as a member of the New York Islanders on Nov. 28, 1979.
- end -