Jaromir Jagr breaks tie for No. 2, Panthers fall to Bruins
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Jaromir Jagr broke a tie with Mark Messier for No. 2 on the NHL career points list. Afterward, he was upset about the two standings points the Florida Panthers let slip away with a 3-1 loss to Boston.
“You want to win the hockey game,” Jagr said. “The best thing is to put this behind us, and the whole team can now be concerned about winning. ... I’ve learned that hockey is a team game. Only team victories count. I wish it had happened in the first period, or it was a goal to give us the lead.”
Florida interim coach Tom Rowe and understands Jagr’s team-first mentality.
″(Jagr’s) upset. He’s second in history in NHL scoring and he doesn’t even care about that right now,” Rowe said. “The two points were more important to him.”
Jagr got point No. 1,888 with an assist with 6:40 left to break the tie with Messier.
“I appreciate everything ... over my hockey career, and I thank the fans,” Jagr said in a brief ceremony during which he was given a golden stick.
Only Wayne Gretzky, with 2,857 points, has more than Jagr. Aleksander Barkov was credited with the goal that deflected off the 44-year-old Czech star.
In a video, Gretzky offered congratulations. “You play the game the right way,” he told Jagr.
The game was stopped for a celebration, and Jagr came onto the ice to accept the commemorative golden stick from the Panthers. He waved to the crowd, got congratulatory stick-taps from both teams, and the game — his 1,663rd in the NHL — resumed.
The Bruins, whom Jagr played 22 games for back in 2013, were fine with the brief stoppage of play to honor No. 68.
“He deserves that attention. We didn’t mind that at all,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “He played for us so it was nice to be a part of it.”
Frank Vatrano, Patrice Bergeron and David Backes scored for Boston, and Tuukka Rask made 29 saves.
Rask improved to 18-3-1 against Florida, while the Boston is 16-2-1 in its last 19 games with the Panthers.
Rask was thrilled to have been a part of a night that not only included the win but also Jagr’s history making achievement.
“You don’t get to be (on the ice) with that kind of a legend very often so it was great to see that,” Rask said. “I’m very happy for him; it’s great.”
Vatrano, called up this week from Providence of the AHL, scored in his first game and on his second shot as a Bruin on a wrister from the slot at 2:09 of the second period.
“You aren’t a part of something like that every day,” Vatrano said about Jagr’s memorable assist. “He’s a tremendous player, one of the best in the game and it’s awesome.”
Bergeron followed 3 minutes later with a power-play conversion that beat goalie James Reimer off a perfect feed from Torey Krug, who also assisted on Vatrano’s score. It was Bergeron’s fifth goal this season.
After being outshot 12-8 in the first period, the Bruins took control at both ends with a 16-5 advantage in the second en route to a two-goal advantage.
Reimer faced 33 Boston shots in the loss.
Backes scored an empty-netter with 1:23 remaining to close out the scoring.
Notes: The Bruins improved to 12-2-1 in their last 15 visits to Sunrise, including wins in their last four appearances at the BB&T Center...Boston C Dominic Moore played in his 800th game...Boston D Torey Krug had another two assists, giving him 10 in his last 14 games...Florida C Aleksander Barkov has 11 points with six goals and five assists over his last nine games, and leads the Panthers with 26 points this season.
Bruins: At Carolina on Friday night.
Panthers: Host Detroit on Friday night.