Osgood followed in Hextall's path
Ozzie's goal gave Red Wings a 4-2 win over Hartford
Eight years after Ron Hextall became the first NHL goalie to shoot and score a goal in a regular-season game, Chris Osgood matched the feat for the Detroit Red Wings on March 6, 1996. It's only fitting that Osgood, a native of Peace River, Alberta, grew up idolizing Hextall when Hextall played his junior hockey with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League.
"He played junior out west, not near me but in the league I grew up watching," Osgood told NHL.com. "I always noticed how he played the puck, so I'd always try to copy him or do better the same things he did.
"He was really the first guy to ever be able to play the puck that way, icing it, making passes. He was far and away the best at it over everybody else, so all the goalies in my generation would try to top him. Coaches would tell me, 'Shoot the puck around the glass like Hextall does.'"
Osgood's goal, which gave the Red Wings a 4-2 lead against the Hartford Whalers, came when he grabbed a dump-in, took one step and lofted the puck down the ice and into the empty net -- the trajectory mirrored Hextall's shot. Scoring at the NHL level was something Osgood said he always tried but "never thought I would do in the NHL."
While Osgood matched Hextall’s accomplishment -- a feat only five goaltenders can claim -- he clarified Hextall's impact as a trailblazer for the goaltending position.
"He was just far and away the best puck player of any goalie, ever," Osgood said. "How hard he shot it, his lead passes, how accurate he was with the passes. He could clear the ice constantly. He changed the position, of the way the goalie could play.
"They should call [the trapezoid] the Hextall Line. He was the one who started it. All these young guys came out and played the puck better than anyone before them, and Hextall really started that."