Not just Murray: Five youngest NHL goalies to make a playoff start

NHL insider Chris Johnston outlines why he believes Jeff Zatkoff should be in the Penguins net until Marc-Andre Fleury returns, saying it’d be a risk throwing 21-year old Matt Murray into the fire.

With Marc-Andre Fleury still not ready to return to action, the Pittsburgh Penguins turned to 21-year-old goaltender Matt Murray in Game 3 to make the first playoff start of his NHL career.

Murray became the youngest goaltender in franchise history to ever start a post-season game, however, turning to a inexperienced netminder during the playoffs is hardly unprecedented.

Just ask Patrick Roy or Ken Dryden.

With that in mind, here are the five youngest goalies ever to start a Stanley Cup Playoffs game:

Harry Lumley, Detroit Red Wings (Mar. 20, 1945): At 18 years, four months, and 10 days, Lumley made his first-ever playoff start against the Boston Bruins in the semi-final round of the ’45 playoffs. Lumley dropped his first post-season game, losing 4-3 to the Boston Bruins but helped the Red Wings rally back to win the series in seven games before falling to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Cup final. The 18-year-old goaltender finished that playoffs leading the NHL in games played, goals-against average, and finished second in shutouts.

Tom Barrasso, Buffalo Sabres (Apr. 4, 1984): Barrasso and Bob Sauve each played at least 40 games in net for Buffalo during the regular season but the Sabres gave the 18-year-old Barrasso the start for Game 1 of the series against the Quebec Nordiques. Barrasso’s Sabres lost 3-2 on home ice and were eventually swept 3-0 by Quebec in the opening round of the ’84 playoffs. Barrasso appeared in all three games of the series.

Bill Ranford, Boston Bruins (Apr. 10, 1986): After dropping Game 1 of the 1986 division semi-final series against the Montreal Canadiens, the Bruins turned to Bill Ranford, at 19 years, three months and 28 days, for the Game 2 start. Ranford allowed three goals in a 3-2 loss before the Canadiens wrapped up the 3-0 sweep two days later with a 4-3 win. Ranford allowed a total of seven goals on 44 shots in the series.

Grant Fuhr, Edmonton Oilers (Apr. 7, 1982): After a solid regular season as a 19-year-old rookie, Fuhr had a NHL playoff debut to forget as the Oilers lost 10-8 to the Kings in Game 1 of a first-round series. Can you imagine a score like that today? Fuhr allowed a total of 26 goals in the five-game series — Edmonton lost the series 3-2 to the Kings — which included the infamous “Miracle on Manchester” game where the Oilers blew a 5-0 lead to lose 6-5 in overtime.

Don Beaupre, Minnesota North Stars (Apr. 9, 1981): En route to the Minnesota North Stars appearance in the 1981 Stanley Cup final, the club gave Beaupre (19 years, six months, and 22 days) the opportunity to make his first career playoff start in Game 2 of the preliminary round series with the Boston Bruins. Beaupre, who split time with Gilles Meloche throughout the regular season, won his playoff debut 9-6 and appeared in six post-season games in total that year, recording a 4-2 record with a 4.33 goals-against average.

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