Jagr passes Messier, but Panthers fall 3-1 to Bruins

Ageless wonder hits 1,888 points with assist on Cats’ lone goal

Florida Panthers winger Jaromir Jagr picked up an assist in the Florida Panthers 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins Thursday night at BB&T Center. The helper, his 1,8888 career point, moved Jagr past Mark Messie, giving the 44-year-old sole possession of second place in all-time NHL scoring behind The Great One, Wayne Gretzky.

Goalies Tuukka Rask and James Reimer kept things scoreless in an opening period that saw the Panthers outshot the Bruins by a 12-8 count.

The second period was completely dominated by the visiting B’s, who didn’t take long to open the scoring after the action restarted, thanks to a sensational play by Tory Krug.

After taking the puck back in neutral zone, Krug deftly stickhandled his way through Aaron Ekblad, Nick Bjugstad and Denis Malgin before sending a beautiful pass to Frank Vatrano, who quickly fired it past Reimer for his first of the season at the 2:09 mark.

Krug set up Boston's second goal 3:04 later to give the Bruins a lead they would not relinquish. Ryan Spooner fed Krug with a cross-ice pass, but instead of finishing his wind-up with a shot, the defenseman dropped it back to Patrice Bergeron, who snapped a wrister by Reimer.

Jagr picked up his historic helper 13:20 into the final frame. Mike Matheson's rising shot from just above the left circle deflected off the side of Jagr, who was screening in front, and came down in the right circle, where a hungry Aleksander Barkov was able to bury it into the open side of the net for his ninth goal.

David Backes clinched Boston's third win over the Panthers this season with an empty-netter with 1:23 left in regulation. Keith Yandle coughed up the puck at the Bruins' blue line and Brad Marchand was able to send Backes in for the easy put away.

The Panthers get a chance to redeem themselves, and close back within two points of the third place Bruins, when the Detroit Red Wings visit tonight for game three of the holiday homestand.

Tea & Honey

  • The Panthers latest loss to the Bruins cost them another chance to add to a two-game winning streak. The Cats are 0-4 in 2016-17 after posting back-to-back wins.
  • Frank Vatrano scored in his first appearance for Boston this season. Vatrano had two goals in two games for Providence before his recall from the AHL.
  • Roberto Luongo missed the game so James Reimer went instead, with Mike McKenna backing up. Reimer finished the tilt with 30 saves on 32 shots.
  • Tuukka Rask made 29 saves to raise his record to 17-6-1. Three of those wins have come against Florida.
  • Aleksander Barkov’s goal gave the surging center 12 points (7G/5A) in 11 December games.
  • Vincent Trocheck led all skaters with seven shots and dished out a team-high three hits.
  • Eat crow with hearty bowl of Stanley Cup of Chowder this morning. It will provide the essential nutrients needed for watching the Red Wings game./