Sports

Throwback Thursday: When Jets Rookie Deron Quint Scored Two Goals in Four Seconds

Quint tied a record dating back to 1931 for the quickest two goals in NHL history. Winnipeg teammate Teemu Selanne scored four goals that same game.
December 15, 2016, 7:15pm
Screengrab via YouTube

This article originally appeared on VICE Sports Canada.

Each week, VICE Sports takes a look back at an important event from sports history for Throwback Thursday, or #TBT for all you cool kids. You can read previous installments here.

Winnipeg Jets rookies scoring in December is an annual holiday tradition. Teemu Selanne piled up 11 goals in 14 games in December 1992 en route to his incredible 76-goal rookie campaign. Meanwhile, Patrik Laine has four goals this month, own-goal notwithstanding, as he continues to make his case for the Calder Trophy. Two of those goals came in a game against the Oilers, where he channeled the Finnish Flash with a memorable celebration that harkened back to Selanne's days in Winnipeg. It wasn't quite a shooting-your-own-glove-out-of-the-air celebration, but twirling your stick and then holstering as if it were a rapier is still pretty slick.

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But while both Selanne and Laine have lit the lamp like a Christmas tree in December, it was an unlikely Jets rookie who had one of the memorable goal-scoring moments this month. It was 21 years ago today when defenceman Deron Quint tied a league record dating back to 1931 for the quickest two goals in NHL history.

Quint had been drafted 13th overall by the Jets in 1994, and while he put up 89 points in his sophomore season in junior with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL, he wasn't exactly earmarked to make history in Winnipeg. But as is often the case in hockey, it doesn't take much for a seemingly innocuous play to suddenly make you find yourself enshrined in the sport's record books.

On Dec. 15, 1995, the Jets were hosting the Oilers at Winnipeg Arena. Just before the halfway mark of the second period, the hometown team had a 2-1 lead and were on a powerplay that was just about to expire. With five seconds remaining on the man advantage, 19-year-old Deron Quint wired a shot from just above the blue line. On its way to the net, the puck deflected off Edmonton forward Scott Thornton and went by goaltender Joaquin Gage. Immediately after the goal horn sounded, Gage had protested that it shuldn't have counted because Shane Doan was in his crease.

READ MORE: Throwback Thursday: Ron Hextall's Historic Empty-Net Goal

Yes, that's right, 1995-96 was also Shane Doan's rookie season. Over two decades later, Doan is still in the league and leads the Jets/Coyotes franchise across the board in games played, goals, assists, and points. But enough about Shane Doan, you'll probably hear more about him in the near future when he finally notches his 400th career goal.

So with the Jets now up 3-1, the puck went back to centre ice for the faceoff. Winnipeg won the draw and Quint took possession of the puck. After carrying up to the red line, he lobbed it deep into Edmonton's zone. As it headed for the glass, Gage moved behind his net to position himself to recover the puck. Instead, with the crease vacant, the puck bounced off the glass and into the net giving the Jets a three-goal lead, all in the span of four seconds.

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Edmonton's defence couldn't believe what happened. While the raucous crowd of 8,504 applauded Quint's second goal of the night, the game's colour commentators tried to make sense of what had just transpired. According to John Garrett, "These old buildings, when goalies lay in here a lot, you realize you can't take the chance, you never commit. Well Joaquin Gage has never played in here, he doesn't know the Winnipeg Arena."

But Garrett's words weren't entirely accurate. Gage had actually played there before on Nov. 26, 1995, when he surrendered three goals on 23 shots. While you can bet that Gage wouldn't make the mistake of overcommitting when he found himself on the other end of a shoot-in in Winnipeg in the future, he never got the chance to redeem himself. Gage only appeared in eight more games that season for the Oilers and just another five during the 2000-01 campaign.

Quint's quick offensive flurry tied the NHL record originally set by Nels Stewart, when he accomplished the feat some 64 years earlier. On Jan. 3, 1931, Stewart and his Maroons were taking on the Boston Bruins. Early into the period, Montreal was trailing by a goal, but two quick markers from Stewart put the Maroons ahead and they held on for a 5-3 win.

Screengrab via 1931 Globe and Mail article

While Stewart's heroics were front and centre in that game, Quint's effort was arguably overshadowed by the fact that Selanne picked up four goals that night as the Jets cruised to a 9-4 victory. The next season, when the franchise relocated to Phoenix, Quint spent most of his time in Springfield, with the Coyotes' AHL affiliate. After a string of injuries and some disappointing campaigns, Quint was traded to the Devils. The closest he came to playing a full NHL season was with the Blue Jackets in 2001-02 when he suited up for 75 games. Five years later, he'd play his final NHL game with the Islanders.

Although health and durability issues may have plagued Quint during his NHL playing days, it hasn't seemed to be a problem for him in Europe. After leaving North America, Quint had become a fixture on the blueline for Eisbaren Berlin in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), where he captained the club and led the Polar Bears to three championships.

Interestingly, Gage had also played three seasons in the DEL, backstopping the Kassel Huskies. The two would've overlapped in 2005-06, during the NHL lockout, and it's likely they would've faced off once again, but probably with less exciting results.

Now, as Quint approaches his 41st birthday in March, he's still playing at a high level. This season he's back in the DEL with Red Bull Munchen, after a seven-season sabbatical in the KHL, and has 14 points in 26 games so far. But before Quint went to Germany, he made history—#tbt to when Deron Quint scored two goals in four seconds and tied an NHL record.