Jagr makes history as Panthers ground Jets 3-1 at BB&T Center

Ageless wonder sets his sights on Mr. Hockey and The Great One

Jaromir Jagr scored the game-tying and clinching goals as the Florida Panthers overcame a first period deficit to beat the fading Winnipeg Jets 3-1 at the BB&T Center Saturday night.

The two-goal outburst moved Jagr past Brett Hull into third place on the NHL's all-time list for most career goals. Only Gordie Howe (801) and Wayne Gretzky (894) have scored more goals than Jagr's 742.

Winnipeg opened the scoring, just 13 seconds after Garrett Wilson was called for hooking, on Nikolaj Ehlers' power-play goal at 14:35 of the first period. Dustin Byfuglien's shot from the blue line caught the rookie on its way by Roberto Luongo. Mathieu Perreault drew the second assist on the play.

Jagr would forge a tie in both the game and with the Golden Brett 4:53 into the second period. Jagr got free in the slot and presented his stick to Dmitry Kulikov, with the subsequent redirection finding the twine behind goaltender Michael Hutchinson. Jussi Jokinen picked up the secondary assist with a nice little drop pass to Kulikov after gaining the zone.

Luogno came up with a huge glove save later in the frame after Perreault sent Blake Wheeler in alone after taking the puck away from rookie Kyle Rau.

The Panthers took the lead with a power-play goal at the 3:58 mark of the third period. After having his shot denied, Kulikov was able to regain a failed Winnipeg clearing attempt and quickly find Reilly Smith open in the right circle. Smith was able to set up and upload a wrist shot past Hutchinson for his nineteenth goal of the season.

Jagr put the game away, and passed Hull, with 6:23 left in regulation with his twentieth of the campaign. The 44-year-old ageless wonder swept home a Jokinen pass after the two grizzled veterans worked the puck free behind the Jets' goal line.

With one game to go, Florida evened its record on the six-game homestand to 2-2-1 and maintained its five-point lead over the Boston Bruins, who posted an impressive 7-3 win in Dallas. The Panthers will get a much-needed break before facing the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.

Pitch & Yaw

  • Jaromir Jagr became the oldest player (44 years, 5 days) in NHL history to score twenty goals in a season. Gordie Howe had held the honor at 42 years, 324 days since 1970-71.
  • Jonathan Huberdeau (upper-body) left the game after taking a hard check from Jacob Trouba in the first period and did not return. The injury bug's tests to Florida's enviable depth continue.
  • Highly-regarded prospects Kyle Rau and Mike Matheson made their NHL debuts last night. Rau finished the game with one shot and one hit, and set a nice screen on Reilly Smith's goal. Matheson logged 14:47 TOI and dished out two hits while registering one shot on goal.
  • Roberto Luongo (29 saves) returned after getting the last two games off to post his 25th victory of the campaign.
  • The Panthers won 38 face-offs compared to 15 for the Jets. Derek MacKenzie (14 of 19) and Vincent Trocheck (10 of 12) were absolutely dominant.
  • Andrew Ladd was originally credited with the lone Winnipeg goal and it sure looked to me like he got it. We'll see if the league awards it to him after taking another look.
  • The fancy folks at war-on-ice have the advanced stats breakdown for you right here.
  • NHL.com has the historic highlight package for you to see with your own eyes.
  • Fly by Arctic Ice Hockey for their take on the season-series opener between the two one-time division rivals. The Cats will be in The 'Peg on March 1.