WASHINGTON — The Philadelphia Flyers tied an NHL record Tuesday night with Mike McKenna becoming their seventh goaltender to play this season.
McKenna started against the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals because interim coach Scott Gordon wanted to give top goaltending prospect Carter Hart a break after playing twice in three days. Brian Elliott, Michal Neuvirth, Calvin Pickard, Alex Lyon and Anthony Stolarz have also tended goal for Philadelphia.
The Flyers became the fourth team in league history to use seven goalies, joining the 1989-90 Quebec Nordiques, 2002-03 St. Louis Blues and 2007-08 Los Angeles Kings. Because of injuries, they reached the seven-goalie mark in their 43rd game.
Philadelphia claimed the 35-year-old McKenna off waivers from the Canucks last week when Neuvirth was injured again. Vancouver acquired McKenna in a trade from the Ottawa Senators two days earlier.
McKenna had black tape all over his mask and black and orange tape on his pads to match the colours of the ninth NHL team has dressed for. In previous seasons, he played for the Tampa Bay Lightning, New Jersey Devils, Columbus Blue Jackets, Arizona Coyotes and Dallas Stars.
“He competes and he battles,” Gordon said of McKenna. “When you play for as long as he has, that’s something people appreciate, the fact that you bring it every day in practice and games. Obviously, it’s a great opportunity for him and he’s got go out and play.”
McKenna allowed a goal 4:21 in on the first shot he faced on a two-on-one rush. He entered the game 1-4-1 with a 3.96 goals-against average and .897 save percentage in 10 games this season with the Senators, and his only victory came against the Flyers.
Gordon, who replaced the fired Dave Hakstol behind Philadelphia’s bench, was one of the Nordiques’ seven goaltenders 29 years ago. He said this is different because Quebec was 9-34-6 at the time he was called up.
“The team at that point, there was a fire sale that was going to happen at the trade deadline,” Gordon said. “They were out of the playoffs. Different situation. There were some major changes that were done at that point.”
The Flyers have lost seven in a row and are 30th in the 31-team NHL.