Patrick Roy's risks paying off, catching on

Patrick Roy has not hesitated to pull goalie Semyon Varlamov with plenty of time left on the clock. AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt

When coach Alain Vigneault pulled Cam Talbot on Tuesday night with 4:38 remaining and the Rangers down three goals against the Flyers, analyst Pierre McGuire wondered on the broadcast if the tactic should now be called "The Patrick Roy," with the way the Avalanche's first-year coach has successfully implemented the aggressive goalie pull in Colorado.

In a moment that has shown just how far Roy and the season have progressed since he slammed on a glass partition to get at Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau in the 2013-14 opener, Boudreau credited Roy in part for the Ducks' remarkable Game 6 comeback Sunday against the Stars.

“Quite frankly, I’ve got to thank Patrick Roy,” Boudreau told reporters covering that series. It was Roy’s ploy that inspired Boudreau to pull goalie Jonas Hiller for the extra skater with 2:26 left and the Ducks down two goals.

And you know what? Andy Murray doesn’t mind.

Back when Roy was still just a goalie and not changing the course of a franchise as a coach, Murray was one of the NHL’s most progressive coaches when it came to utilizing the extra attacker.

Murray remembers a time when he was coaching a junior team in Manitoba in the 1970s, and they were down 6-0. They pulled their goalie with about 15 minutes remaining in the game and rallied to cut it to a one-goal deficit. They lost 6-5, but the five goals they scored, with an empty net behind them, sent his team the message that they were doing anything possible to win despite the huge hole they were in.

But more famously, it was Murray who pulled Felix Potvin in the first round of the 2001 playoffs against Detroit with 3:22 remaining in Game 4 that helped his Los Angeles Kings score three third-period goals before eventually prevailing in overtime on Eric Belanger’s winner.

It wasn’t quite the Miracle on Manchester, but the Stunner at Staples is remembered just as fondly by Kings fans.

And yet, chances are, if current Kings coach Darryl Sutter pulls Jonathan Quick on Wednesday night against the San Jose Sharks with three minutes left, it’ll be Roy who gets the credit. That’s how big an impact Roy is having in this postseason. It’s quite possible that this time, it sticks as a strategy rather than as a moment or two that stands out in franchise history.

“As a coach, I like it,” Murray said Tuesday during a phone conversation. “He’s coaching. He’s showing his players, he’s coaching right to the end. He wants to show them he wants them to play until the end.”