By Allan Muir
Curtis Sanford spent his entire NHL career as the second or third option on the depth chart. Never a starter, but a reliable backup for parts of six seasons with St. Louis, Vancouver and Columbus. He compiled a fairly nondescript résumé along the way, and while he made a few playoff appearances in the minors, he never had a chance to prove that he could be a postseason hero in the big leagues.
With playoffs underway in the KHL, Sanford held the fort for Lokomotiv in a thrilling triple-OT affair against Severstal that went down as the longest game in league history.
Over the course of the contest, Sanford made a bit of history of his own with 80 — that’s EIGHT-OH — saves for Lokomotiv. Fifty-two of them came from the third period on as he stood on his head to keep his team in it.
And he lost.
Severstal’s Denis Kazionov scored the winner at 58:47 of OT to give Severstal the 3-2 victory and a 3-1 series lead.
The 83 shots Sanford faced equals the regular season NHL mark set by Chicago’s Sam LoPresti in a loss to the Bruins on Mar. 4, 1941. But the NHL playoff mark is 90, set by Detroit’s Normie Smith in 1936. Smith earned another notation in the history books by stopping all 90 of them. The Wings beat the Montreal Maroons 1-0, thanks to the legendary goal by Mud Bruneteau, in the longest game in NHL history (176:30).
We haven’t been able to find a full highlight package, but here’s a larcenous glove save from OT: