In the National Hockey League, a goaltender scoring a goal is a rare feat indeed. Their job, obviously, is to stop pucks, not score with them, and more often than not when they do put it in a net it is their own. For a goalie to actually score a goal for his or her own team, very special circumstances have to be in play.
For a goalie to shoot and score a goal, first of all, the net at the other end of the ice has to be empty; the goalie's counterpart on the opposing team has to be on the bench. Why would the other goalie not be in the net, somebody who is not that familiar with hockey might ask? Usually, when there's about a minute left in the game, when a team is down by one goal (or two or even sometimes three if it is the playoffs and a lot is on the line) they will pull their goalie for an extra attacker, or an extra skater to try to equalize things. An ice hockey team should have no more than six players on the ice in play at any given time or they will be assessed a bench minor penalty for too many men on the ice but there's no set rule on what kinds of players those six should be. Usually it's one goalie, two defensemen, three offensemen. But the coach can yank the goalie for an extra offensemen to try to tie it up.
Anyway, with the net at the other end vacant, if the other team's goaltender has the opportunity (and a damn good shot and/or a lot of luck) he can sail the puck over the heads of all the players in front of him and down the ice into the other net. Or the goalie can bank the puck off of the boards at mid-ice in such a way that will send the puck into the other net.
Another way for a goalie to get a goal is when some calamity happens to the other team and they end up knocking the puck in their own net. This is possible ever since NHL rule 57b was enstated in the 1940's which says "A goal shall be scored if the puck is put into the goal in any way by a player of the defending side. The player of the attacking side who last played the puck shall be credited with the goal but no assist shall be awarded." (It is possible that some goalies before that rule was written would have goals according to that rule.) A lot of times the puck is knocked into a player's own net when there is a delayed penalty - if a player on the opposing team is going to be assessed a penalty play will be whistled dead as soon as a player on that team gains posession of the puck. In this situation a coach can pull the goaltender for an extra attacker because an empty net goal cannot be scored because if a player on the other team tried the goal would be disallowed. However, an errant pass by a member of the team with the goalie pulled can send it into their own net, in which case the goal does count. But however a team knocks the puck into their own net, when this happens the goal must be credited to the last person on the other team to touch the puck. Sometimes this can be the goalie.
The following is a list of all the NHL goalie goals, when they were scored, who did it, and the circumstances surrounding it.
- Billy Smith - New York Islanders - November 28, 1979: While playing the Colorado Rockies in Denver, an errant pass by Rockies defenseman Rob Ramage went down the length of the ice and into his own net. The puck had deflected off of Smith's chest and into the corner where Ramage had scooped it up. It was indeed a delayed penalty situation early in the third period. This made Smith the first goalie to be credited with a goal. It was originally given to Islanders defenseman Dave Lewis but it wasn't until the tape was reviewed after the game that it was determined that Billy Smith was actually the last Islander to touch the puck. New York still lost 7-4.
- Ron Hextall - Philadelphia Flyers - December 8, 1987: While facing off against the Boston Bruins on their home turf, the Flyers were the first team to have a goaltender shoot and score a goal. Ron Hextall made NHL history when the Bruins had their goaltender pulled for the extra attacker: Boston sent the puck into their offensive zone, but Hextall was the first player to get to it. He realized the golden opportunity and whacked it down the ice and into the net. You can see a video of it here.
- Ron Hextall - Philadelphia Flyers - April 11, 1989: Ron Hextall also becomes the first NHL goaltender to shoot and score a goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs on this night against the Washington Capitals. Again, while the oppositing goalie was pulled in favor of the extra attacker Hextall sailed another puck down the ice and into the empty net. Video here.
- Chris Osgood - Detroit Red Wings - March 6, 1996: While playing the Hartford Whalers in Hartford Chris Osgood became the third goalie in NHL history to get credited with a goal. But as with Hextall's goals, he shot and scored it into the empty net at the other end of the ice himself. You can see a video of it here.
- Martin Brodeur - New Jersey Devils - April 17, 1997: Brodeur picked a good time to become the fourth goalie with a goal. In Game One of the conference quarterfinal playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens (in New Jersey), late in the game with the Habs down 4-2 they pulled their goalie for the extra attacker. He fired the puck down the ice and into the net and the Devils took the game 5-2. You can see a video of it here.
- Damian Rhodes - Ottawa Senators - January 2, 1999: Damian Rhodes became the fifth goaltender to get credited with a goal and the first to do it in a shutout victory against none other than Martin Brodeur and the Devils. With Brodeur pulled for the extra attacker during a delayed penalty and the Sens up 1-0, defenseman Lyle Odelein tried to pass the puck back to the blue line, but it eluded Scott Niedermayer and Dave Andreychuk and went down the ice to give Ottawa a 2-0 lead. Rhodes ended up with 30 saves in the 6-0 win.
- Martin Brodeur - New Jersey Devils - February 15, 2000: Brodeur became the second goaltender to score two goals and the first to have a game-winning goal on this night versus the Philadelphia Flyers. Like Rhodes and Smith, he didn't shoot it this time, but was credited with the goal as being the last Devil to touch the puck as it was knocked in by a Flyers player during a delayed penalty.
- José Théodore - Montreal Canadiens - January 3, 2001: In Montreal, Théodore became the second goaltender to score a goal and get a shutout when he was just trying to clear the puck from the defensive zone with an innocent flick of his stick. The puck drifted all the way down into the empty net which had been vacated by Islanders goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck. He wasn't even trying to score! That year he earned him the Vezina Trophy and the Hart Memorial Trophy. You can see a video of it here.
- Evgeni Nabokov - San Jose Sharks - March 10, 2002: On this night Nabokov, while playing against the Vancouver Canucks on their home turf, became the first NHL goaltender to score a power play goal and the first European goaltender to score a goal. From the top of his own crease he sent the puck down the ice into an empty Vancouver net with 47.2 seconds remaining in the Sharks' 7-4 win. You can see a video of it here.
- Mika Noronen - Buffalo Sabres - February 14, 2004: What a Valentine Maple Leaf skater Robert Reichel gave Noronen when he passed it to the point on a delayed Sabres penalty, missing everybody with the errant pass but his own net. There doesn't apear to be a video of this but this is a funny Noronen moment worth taking a look at.
- Chris Mason - Nashville Predators - April 15, 2006: When he was starting because the Predators' #1 goalie Tomas Vokoun was out for the year with a blood condition, Mason was credited for a goal when Phoenix Coyotes forward Geoff Sanderson shot the puck into his own net midway through the third period on a delayed penalty. In response to the goal, Mason said, "It was a cheesy goal. Someone else should have received it." Nashville won that night 5-1.
- Cam Ward - Carolina Hurricanes - December 26, 2011: Again a goalie goal involves the New Jersey Devils but it was the Carolina Hurricanes goalie Ward who had asked Santy Claus for a goal for Christmas and he got one (a day late). He got the goal against NJ when their net was empty trying to tie things up near the end of the game. Cam didn't actually shoot it, like Billy Smith's and others, apparently Ilya Kovalchuk was the Devils player he had to thank for the late Christmas gift. The game recap and a video can be found here. And thanks to avalyn for this update.
- Martin Brodeur - New Jersey Devils - March 21, 2013: Brodeur became the only goaltender to score three goals VS. the Carolina Hurricanes. It was an other open-net situation, Carolina was down a few, Brodeur made a save, touched the puck, a Hurricanes player tried to pass it to the point, missed, and down the ice it went into his own net. Here's the vid.
- Mike Smith - Phoenix Coyotes - October 19, 2013: Mike Smith became the 11th goalie to score a goal in the waning seconds of a game VS the Detroit Red Wings. He shot the puck from his own crease and aaaalllll the way down the ice it went! Here is the vid.
- Pekka Rinne - Nashville Predators - January 9, 2020: Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne became the 12th goalie to shoot and score a goal, and the first in the 2020s decade to do so. During a game versus the Chicago Blackhawks, in Chicago during an empty-net situation, from behind his own net, he sailed the puck all the way down the ice and into the Hawks' net. Here is the vid.