Patrick Roy began his career between the pipes, during the 1984-85 season, when he played one game for the Montreal Canadiens—the team he would represent until being traded to the Colorado Avalanche during the 1995-96 season. The trade was made four days after new Canadiens’ coach Mario Tremblay left Roy in net December 2, 1995, when Roy allowed nine goals on 26 shots before finally being pulled in the middle of the second period. Roy was not happy, to say the least, and let management know. He and Canadiens’ captain Mike Keane were sent to the Avalanche while Jocelyn Thibault, Martin Ručinský and Andrei Kovalenko went to Montreal. It turned out to be a definitely one-sided trade in favor of Colorado.
Approximately two months after being traded, Roy was in net on February 19, 1996, when the Avalanche played host to the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers looked to be the frontrunner in the game when they were up 2-0 with 4:42 remaining in the opener—the results of an unassisted shorthanded goal by Oilers Todd Marchant at 2:24 followed some thirteen minutes later by Miroslav Satan’s eighth goal of the season, also unassisted. Peter Forsberg cut the Oilers lead in half at 17:45 of the first period.
During the second, it was clear that the Avalanche were riding the momentum from Forsberg’s late period goal, as Curtis Leschyshyn tied the game at 5:28 and Chris Simon put the Avs ahead at 8:20. Forsberg notched his second of the game at 13:57, while Joe Sakic got his third assist of the game and the middle frame. With less than four minutes remaining in the second, Scott Thornton put the Oilers back within one, and once again the goal was unassisted.
Just 22 seconds into the third, Valeri Kamensky got his 26th goal of the season—adding a goal to his earlier assist in the second period. The Oilers refused to go away though as Thornton got his second of the game and the first for the Oilers that had an assist just 16 seconds later. The two goals were scored before the first minute of the final period had counted down. Satan would tie things up at 3:24 with his second of the game making it 5-5. However, Kamensky and Forsberg weren’t done for the Avalanche. Kamensky got his second of the game at 12:16, with Forsberg and Sakic assisting, and then 55 seconds later Forsberg got the hat trick, with Kamensky getting credit for the secondary assist.
As the buzzer signaled the end of the game, Colorado beat Edmonton 7-5, and Roy became the second youngest goaltender to achieve 300 wins. Of course, he probably owed some credit to Forsberg’s five-point night (3G, 2A), Kamensky’s four points (2G, 2A) and Sakic’s four assists.
The Avalanche would go on to win the Stanley Cup that season for the first time since they were relocated from Quebec City (when they were the Nordiques).
While Glenn Hall is widely accepted as the father of the butterfly style of goaltending, Roy probably was the goaltender to make it such a popular style “not only because of his spectacular results but because of his outsized personality and swagger, and his own quirky hybrid of combativeness and charisma.”
By the time Roy retired, many considered him to be the best goaltender of the NHL. By 2003, he held NHL records for most regular-season wins (551), games played by a goalie (1,029), playoff victories (151), playoff games played (247) and playoff shutouts (23). It was not surprising that he was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006.
- NHL 100 Greatest Players – Patrick Roy