Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 10/30/13 at 01:12 AM ET
Jaromir Jagr scored the game-winning goal in the New Jersey Devils' 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning...
And for a little while, both NBCSN and the NHL thought that Jagr set a record for the most game-winning goals ever, as the AP's recap notes:
Jaromir Jagr became the NHL's leader in game-winning goals with a flashback to his heyday.
Stealing the puck at the blue line, Jagr skated the length of the ice, froze Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop with a sleek move and deposited a second-period wrist shot into an open net to give the New Jersey Devils a 2-1 victory over the Lightning on Tuesday night.
The 684th goal of Jagr's 20-year NHL career, gave him 119 game-winners, putting him one ahead of Hall of Famer Phil Esposito, who retired in 1971.
" I remember him, I was watching him in 1972," Jagr said. " I wasn't watching it live, I was just born in '72. I was watching the tapes and he was the man back then."
During his career, Jagr also once was the man. Those days are over and now he just enjoys playing, noting he didn't even know he broke Esposito's record.
" At least I have one record," said Jagr, who also owns the record for overtime goals. " (Wayne) Gretzky has all the other ones. But it's a big accomplishment. You have to be pretty lucky to score at the right time. That's the way I think my body is built. I don't get much tired so I was scoring a lot of goals in the third period. That's why I got a lot of game-winning goals."
As noted by The Hockey News's Rory Boylen:
Jaromir Jagr scored the 119th game-winning goal of his career in New Jersey’s 2-1 win over Tampa Bay. The tally came off a second period breakaway Jagr created when he stripped Martin St-Louis of the puck – and after it passed Ben Bishop and the Devils sealed the victory, No. 68 surpassed Phil Esposito on the all-time list.
According to the NHL’s website, that goal put Jagr in sole possession of the No. 1 spot in career game-winning goals. Ah, but things aren’t as they seem. Elias Sports Bureau said Jagr is still two behind Gordie Howe. With a total of 121, Howe managed to elbow Jagr out of the record books a little longer. The NHL confirmed the mix-up.
The confusion lay in the fact the NHL website only displays certain stat collections as far back as 1967-68 (a mythical time when Toronto won Cups). So while Howe still appears as the No. 2 all-time goal scorer, he doesn’t have a record for game-winning goals.
But it’s still a great achievement for Jagr. And, in the context of the current Geezer Race playing out this season, that goal put Jagr 11 up on Teemu Selanne in game-winners. Selanne ranks fifth on the all-time list.
Teemu didn’t have as good of a night as Jagr, though. He had to leave his game in the third period after taking a stick to the face from Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn. (You know what to do.)
At 684 career goals now, Jagr is just six back of Mario Lemieux for ninth on the all-time goal scoring list and six ahead of Selanne. If he passes Lemieux, he should do it with a long mane blowing in the wind.
Jagr has a point in each of his past five games, totaling 10 points in 12 games to lead the Devils. But now I just have to question everything.
Update: The Sporting News's Sean Gentile reports that Jagr was in fine form after the game.
Per Steve Lepore...
Jagr was a riot in the scrum after the game. Says he feels his "cockiness" coming back.
Jagr's gameplan on the breakaway goal, having that much space: "Don't get injured."
Jagr basically said when he came back from Russia, he just wanted to enjoy the game. Now he says "I feel the old cockiness coming back."
He says he doesn't want to hear people say he's over the hill and can't play anymore. Also bragged about beating Marty in practice today.
And the Bergen Record's Tom Gulitti:
“I feel like this year the cockiness is coming back a little bit,” Jagr said.
Jagr has points in five consecutive games (one goal, six assists) and leads the Devils with 10 points in their first 12 games after his breakaway goal 10:54 into the second period turned out to be the 119th game-winning goal of his career. That moved him one ahead of Phil Esposito into second place in league history.
Everyone, including the Devils’ and the NHL’s public relations departments, initially thought Jagr had set a new NHL record, but Elias Sports Bureau issued a correction saying Gordie Howe still has the record with 121 game-winning goals. Jagr still needs two more to catch Mr. Hockey.
“You have to be pretty lucky to score at the right time,” Jagr said. “That’s the way I think my body is built. I don’t get (that) tired, so I was scoring a lot of goals in the third period. So, that’s why I’ve got a lot of game-winning goals.”
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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