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PHT Time Machine: NHL brother vs. brother edition

NHL Brother

We like to take an occasional look back at some significant moments in NHL history. This is the PHT Time Machine. Today we take a look back at some famous brother vs. brother incidents in NHL history.

Brother scoring against brother

NHL history is loaded with sibling rivalries and brother vs. brother matchups.

Sometimes it is getting the opportunity to play on the same team (and the same line!) like Henrik and Daniel Sedin did for so many years in Vancouver.

Usually it involves brothers just playing head-to-head in a game.

On rare occasions it can be a brother actually scoring a goal against their brother goaltender.

In NHL history there are only four players that have scored a goal against their goaltending brother, with the most recent incident taking place 17 years ago this week.

It was on November 24, 2003, when then-Florida Panthers defenseman Mathieu Biron scored a game-winning goal against his older brother Martin Biron, at that point the starting goalie for the Buffalo Sabres.

The wildest part of that goal is that Biron (the defenseman) scored only three goals that season and only 12 in his six-year, 253-game career. It just so happened that one of them was against his brother.

It nearly happened one year earlier, prompting Martin to joke that if his brother had scored he would have retired on the spot.

More from the Nov. 25, 2003 Florida Sentinel:

Last February, when Panthers defenseman Mathieu Biron nearly batted a puck out of midair in overtime to beat his older brother, Martin, the Buffalo Sabres’ goaltender said, “If he would have gotten that goal, I probably would have retired right on the spot.”

With their parents, Rejean and Celine, on hand, the sibling rivalry that originated in Lac St. Charles, Quebec, continued at Office Depot Center on Monday night, and Mathieu got his goal.

It turned out to be the winner in a 2-1 Panthers’ victory, and Mathieu, as far as we know, didn’t send Martin into retirement.

“I hope he doesn’t quit now,” Mathieu, three years younger than Martin, joked. “I’ll be sure to hear his press conference, but I knew it would happen sooner or later. If I don’t see him, I’ll be sure to call him [today].”

The only players to score a goal against their brother in an NHL game are...

Paul Thompson scored 13 goals against Tiny Thompson between the 1926 and 1931 seasons.
Brian Smith scored two goals (in the same game!) against his brother Gary Smith during the 1967-68 season. Smith played just two seasons in the NHL and scored only 10 goals.
Phil Esposito scored 25 goals in 18 games against Tony Esposito. Two of those goals came in Tony’s first career start. That game ended in a 2-2 tie.

There is only one set of brothers active in the NHL today that could produce a similar result, and that would be P.K. Subban scoring a goal against his brother, Malcolm Subban. They have played four games against each other with Malcolm stopping all seven of P.K.'s shots against him.

Fighting Like Brothers

The wildest brother vs. brother incident took place April 7, 1997, in an otherwise forgettable Hartford Whalers vs. Buffalo Sabres game.

It was then that Buffalo’s Wayne Primeau dropped the gloves and fought his brother, Keith.

It all started during a net-front scramble and resulted in the two brothers dropping the gloves because they just so happened to be the closest to each other.

Keith admitted after the game that he rushed into the locker room and called his parents to apologize.

From the Hartford Courant:

“It’s not just another player [Wayne] was scuffling with. It was the goaltender,” Keith said via the Hartford Courant. “When I came into the [locker] room [right after the fight], I was real upset. I called my parents right away. My dad was laughing, actually. I was looking for someone to settle me down, and my dad did that. My mom said, ‘Go out there and see what you can do to tie the game up.’”

Even though they would play against each other a few more times in their careers they would never fight again, keeping a promise they made to their parents.

For more stories from the PHT Time Machine, click here.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.