Patrick Roy dominated the NHL for 18 seasons while popularizing the butterfly style: pads to the ice, stick covering the five-hole as he dared shooters to find the slivers of space above his shoulders. Fearless, smart, technically precise, iron-willed and cocky, Roy set career records for games (1,029 regular season; 247 postseason), wins (551/151) and postseason shutouts (23) while winning three Vezina Trophies and four Stanley Cups.
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Roy's influence is seen today, from the lightweight goaltending equipment he helped design with Koho to the playing style of Jean-Sebastien Giguere, seen here at age 12 with the Habs' netminder in 1989. Giguere would go on to win the 2003 Conn Smythe Trophy with Anaheim, two years after Roy won his third and last.
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Drafted by Montreal in the third round of the 1984 draft (51st overall), Roy made his NHL debut on Feb. 23, 1985 -- relieving started Doug Soetaert to begin the third period of a 4-4 tie with Winnipeg. Roy did not allow a goal and was credited with his first win, 6-4, in his only appearance of the season.
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Only 20, Roy capped his rookie season of 1985-86 by becoming the youngest starting netminder to win the Stanley Cup as the Canadiens beat the Calgary Flames, four games to one. His postseason marks of 15-5, 1.93 GAA earned him the first of his three Conn Smythe Trophies.
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Not surprisingly, Roy was hailed as "St. Patrick" in Montreal for his Cup heroics. He hoisted another in 1993, after the Habs defeated Wayne Gretzky's Kings, four games to one. Roy was again the Conn Smythe-winner after posting a 16-4, 2.13 GAA record in 20 games.
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Roy's 11th season in Montreal came to an ugly end on Dec. 2, 1995, when coach Mario Tremblay left him in net for nine goals in a 12-1 drubbing by Detroit. After being pulled during the second period, Roy sarcastically acknowledged the jeers of the home crowd, then informed team president Ronald Corey that he had played his last game as a Canadien.
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Four days later, Roy was traded to the Avalanche with winger Mike Keane for goaltender Jocelyn Thibeault and wingers Martin Rucinsky and Andrei Kovalenko. The Avs were new to Colorado, too, having arrived that year from Roy's native Quebec.
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Roy backstopped the Avs into the Stanley Cup Finals against the upstart Panthers, whose fans showered him with plastic rodents after he was scored upon twice in Game 3. "No more rats," Roy famously declared, before shutting out Florida during the final 153 minutes, 12 seconds of the series, including his 1-0 Cup-clinching triple-OT victory in Game 4.
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Roy's triumph was front-page news in Sports Illustrated.
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During Roy's eight years with Colorado, the Avalanche developed a nasty, often brutal rivalry with the Detroit Red Wings, who dethroned the defending Cup champs in the 1997 Western Conference Final, the second of the five times the two teams met in the postseason.
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Roy could be prickly and combative -- he served an eight-game suspension for slashing in Oct. 1987 -- but he wasn't the most accomplished pugilist. Here, he took a pounding at the hands of his Red Wings counterpart Mike Vernon during a first-period brawl in Detroit on March 26, 1997.
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A proud Canadian, Roy represented his country at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Here, Roy stops Sweden's Daniel Alfredsson in round-robin action. Team Canada failed to reach the gold-medal game when Roy was beaten by Robert Reichel of the Czech Republic in a shootout, and then fell to Finland in the bronze medal contest.
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Roy and the Avs climbed out of an 0-2 hole to dethrone the two-time defending Cup champion Red Wings in the 1999 Western Conference semi-final. After losing the first two games on home ice, Roy reverted to form, downing the Wings 5-3 and 6-2 in Detroit and then shutting them out 2-0 back in Colorado.
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On Oct. 17, 2000, Roy broke Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk's career victories mark (447) -- a record long considered unreachable -- by topping Washington 4-3 in OT. Three nights later, he was saluted by Sawchuk's son, Jerry, at a ceremony before the Avs' game against Florida. The city of Denver also got into the act, declaring Oct. 20 as Patrick Roy Day.
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Roy could be unshakeable after even the most costly gaffes. His mishandle of the puck late in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals helped the Devils tie the series 2-2, and the Avs fell into a 3-2 hole two nights later. Undaunted, Roy told coach Bob Hartley, "It's your job to figure out how to get us a goal [in Game 6) because I'm not letting in any." True to his word, Roy blanked the Devils, 4-0, in New Jersey, making 24 saves. Two nights later, the Avs captured the Cup.
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Along with his numerous awards, Roy was an 11-time All-Star. The games weren't always showcases of great goaltending. In 2002, Roy was nicked for two first-period goals by Teemu Selanne of the World Team, which beat North America, 8-5.
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Early in Roy's career, some experts feared that his knees would crumble under the strain of his physically demanding style of play, but during the 2001-02 season, he passed Terry Sawchuk's career mark for games played by a goaltender (971) and kept on going.
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Roy's final regular-season appearance in net came on April 22, 2003 against the Minnesota Wild, a 3-2 loss in OT. That postseason, Roy's final quest for a Cup came up short as the Avs bowed out in the first round.
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The much-honored goaltender retired on May 28, 2003 and his number 33 followed suit during a ceremony in Denver the following October. Accompanied by wife Michele, Roy waved farewell to the Avs and their fans.
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"I was playing with a hatred for losing," Roy told SI's Michael Farber in April 2002. "Maybe I should have been playing with a love for winning." We won't quibble. The Hall of Fame was the bottom line.
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