The Florida Panthers were forced into a unique situation after both starting goalies fell with injury, clearing the way for their goaltending coach to suit up.
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Save the name Robb Tallas for your future games of NHL trivia because his story isn’t likely to be repeated any time soon. If history is any indication, we may have to wait at least another 45 years to see something like what happened on Tuesday night when the Florida Panthers hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It started in the first period when first-string goaltender Roberto Luongo left the game with an injury after taking a puck to the collarbone or shoulder. Then later in the second period, backup goaltender Al Montoya was forced to leave the game with pain. Of course, the Panthers only dressed two goaltenders as has every NHL team since the whole idea of two goaltenders first came to fruition.
Enter Robb Tallas to make some history. If you’ve never heard of Tallas, don’t worry. That sphere of influence is limited to Roberto Luongo, Al Montoya and the children of Robb Tallas.
You see, Tallas is the goaltending coach for the Panthers. He’s north of 40 and his last professional goaltending appearance came in Europe…in 2000. Until Tuesday night that is.
The Panthers quickly signed Tallas to a tryout contract and got him prepped to go while Al Montoya stood in the net and braced himself awkwardly for what shots the woeful Leafs could manage in that stretch. Unfortunately the damage was done before Montoya could get off the ice. Peter Holland scored a goal for the Leafs on an awkward play from Montoya to make it 3-2 Toronto.
It looked like Tallas would take the ice, but Roberto Luongo actually returned to overcome what had to be a nasty bruise on his collar and shoulder so he could finish the game.
Luongo wouldn’t give up another goal, but the Panthers wouldn’t score one either. The Maple Leafs took the road win, 3-2, in what will surely be a footnote to something much more historic that took place in the Panthers crease.
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