This is the 30th anniversary of Ian Turnbull’s five goal game against the Detroit Red Wings and sometimes I am asked if a record like this could be broken.
The answer is: I wouldn’t be surprised at all.
I see several factors: the number of power plays teams enjoy today, the skill of the shooters and the opportunities presented in overtime when the teams play four-on-four.
There are a lot of offensively talented defencemen who pick off passes in the defensive zone and then go into transition.
In St. Louis, we had Al MacInnis and Chris Pronger and they were always among our top scorers. We have two very offensively skilled defencemen here in Tomas Kaberle and Bryan McCabe. Plenty of talented defencemen are having good seasons. Sheldon Souray has scored 17 goals in Montreal. Philippe Boucher has scored 14 times for the Dallas Stars. Dion Phaneuf has 13 goals in Calgary.
I don’t remember Ian’s five-goal night, but I know what it’s like when a player just can’t miss. I was playing in the minors with the Fredericton Canadiens, and we had a player, Patrick Lebeau, who scored six times in a game against Cape Breton. When a player is having one of those rare nights, everything they touch goes in.
That’s one of the wonderful things about the game. Every night, you might see something you never expected.