SUNRISE, FLORIDA – Jaromir Jagr fulfilled his birthday wish in a big way.
The veteran forward scored twice to move into third place on the NHL career goals list and help the Florida Panthers beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 on Saturday night.
“When I got a birthday cake for my 44th birthday (on Monday), I said I wish I’m going to be a goal scorer,” Jagr said. “So far it worked so maybe I’m going to catch Gordie (Howe) and maybe Wayne Gretzky, too, you know?”
Jagr tied and then moved past Brett Hull and now has 742 goals, trailing only Gretzky (894) and Howe (801).
“I don’t really think about it, but to be honest with you. I don’t feel I played real well the last few games, so I wanted to make sure I played a little bit better today,” said Jagr, who has three goals in two games since his birthday. “I had a little bit more jump.”
Reilly Smith had the go-ahead power-play goal early in the third period and Roberto Luongo stopped 30 shots in his return after missing two games to help the Panthers win for just the third time in eight games (3-3-2).
Nikolaj Ehlers scored his 14th of the season on a power play in the first period, and Michael Hutchinson finished with 28 saves for the Jets, losers of three straight (0-2-1).
Jagr tied Hull with his first goal of the game 4:53 into the second period as he skated down the middle toward the goal and redirected a centering pass from Dmitry Kulikov and put the puck over Hutchinson’s right shoulder to tie the score at 1.
“It was special. I couldn’t even dream about it, first of all (Jagr) playing on the same team with me and then getting an assist on the history-making goal. It’s really special,” Kulikov said of his assist.
Jagr also earned praise from Hutchinson.
“He definitely showed why he’s one of the best in the game,” the Jets’ goaltender said. “He’s really good at protecting the puck, and he’s got a quick shot.”
Smith scored his 19th goal, at 3:58 of the third on a power play, to give Florida a 2-1 edge. The right wing fired a wrist shot from the right circle and the puck beat Hutchinson to the right side.
Jagr then scored his 20th of the season to move into sole possession of third on the career list on a wrist shot from close range with 6:23 left in the third period to make it 3-1.
“Of course, I love the game. There’s no reason to quit,” Jagr said. “I love the game. There’s a million people who wanted to be in my position. If I can play in the NHL, why not keep going?”
Flyers 5, Maple Leafs 4 (OT)
In Toronto, Shayne Gostisbehere scored 29 seconds into overtime, extending his scoring streak to 15 games.
Gostisbehere is the first rookie to have four overtime goals in a season and his points streak is the longest by a defenseman since Chris Chelios in 1995-96. Chelios had 20 points in 15 games.
Capitals 4, Devils 3
In Washington, Brooks Orpik scored his second goal of the season with 3:58 left and the Capitals rallied to beat New Jersey, becoming the first NHL team with 90 points this season.
Washington’s T.J. Oshie tied the game with 6:05 left in his 500th NHL game. Orpik got his fourth assist of the season on Oshie’s goal.
Lightning 4, Penguins 2
In Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay forward Steven Stamkos became the third player in franchise history to reach 300 goals, and the Lightning ended a long losing streak in Pittsburgh.
Stamkos knocked in a rebound off Alex Killorn’s shot midway through the first period to join Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis as the only Tampa players with 300 goals.
Senators 3, Red Wings 2 (SO)
In Ottawa, Kyle Turris had the only goal in the shootout and Dion Phaneuf got his first goal with the Senators in a win over Detroit.
Zack Smith also scored for the Senators. Ottawa has won three straight games for the first time since Nov. 19-24. Craig Anderson turned away 29 shots.
Blues 6, Coyotes 4
In Glendale, Arizona, Vladimir Tarasenko, David Backes and Alexander Steen each had a goal and an assist and St. Louis used a four-goal first period to beat the Coyotes.
Bruins 7, Stars 3
In Dallas, Brad Marchand scored twice to help Boston rally past the Stars.
Kings 2, Predators 1 (OT)
In Nashville, Tanner Pearson scored 1:18 into overtime and Los Angeles beat the Predators to wrap up a seven-game trip with a victory.
Avalanche 3, Oilers 2
In Edmonton, Tyson Barrie had two goals and an assist and Colorado beat the Oilers.
John Mitchell also scored for the Avalanche.