Ron Tugnutt Baffles Boston: Bruins Lore

Joe GillCorrespondent IIMarch 3, 2010

This month marks the 19th anniversary of one of the most remarkable games ever played by an NHL goaltender.

It was March 21, 1991 at the Boston Garden. Adams Division rival Quebec was coming to town to take on the first place Boston Bruins.

The last place Nordiques had an uphill climb against one of the best teams in the NHL.

On paper, the Nords didn’t have the talent the Bruins had. However, in hockey, an inferior team can compete if their goalie can stand on his head.

Goalie Ron Tugnutt did just that—literally.

Tugnutt was one of five goaltenders used by Quebec over the season. Jacques Cloutier, John Tanner, Stephane Fiset, and Scott Gordon all played between the pipes for the Nords.

To say there was instability in the net for Quebec is an understatement.

Boston was an offensive juggernaut with the likes of Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, Craig Janney, Ken Hodge Jr., and former Miracle on Ice Olympian Dave Christian. All of them finished the season with 50 points or more.

The Bruins must have been licking their chops for the sieve-like Nordiques. They were at the bottom of the league in goals against.

But sometimes players get in the zone. And they make you pull out your hair.

The Bruins must have been bald at the conclusion of this tilt.

Boston fired 17 shots on Tugnutt in the first. Then they bombarded Tugnutt with an eye-popping 44 shots over the last two frames.

The game was tied 3-3 going into overtime. The Bruins peppered the Quebec goalie with 12 more shots, but none found pay dirt.

Bourque had the best opportunity to put the game away with eight seconds left in the extra session.

Hodge was getting mugged by a Nordiques defenseman and was lying on the ice. He sent a blind pass in front of the crease in desperation.

The puck slid right onto Bourque’s stick about 15 feet in front of the net. The laser beam shot didn’t find the twine but the leather of Tugnutt’s catching glove.

The Bruins and even their fans thought the game was over, but Mr. Tugnutt had the last laugh. Tugnutt made an unbelievable 70 saves on 73 Bruins shots.

The game ended in a 3-3 tie.

Ron Tugnutt found a place not only in Bruins lore for stoning Boston in their own rink but in the NHL history books. His ridiculous 70 saves are the second most in a regular season game in league history.

Who holds the record, you may ask?

His name is Sam LoPresti, who played for the Blackhawks. The American-born goaltender made 80 saves on 83 shots against—you guessed it—the Boston Bruins on March 4, 1941.

Both goalies let up three goals.

Both netminders had their epic games against the Boston Bruins.

Both games came in the month of March, 50 years apart.



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