Jagr picks up 731st career goal, Panthers top Capitals 4-1
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Karma was finally on the side of Jaromir Jagr.
Jagr moved into a tie for fourth on the all-time goals list with a first-period score that sparked the Florida Panthers to a 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.
Jagr needed just 51 seconds to put the Panthers in front when he deflected Dmitry Kulikov’s long shot from the point by Washington’s Phillip Grubauer. The goal was Jagr’s first since Nov. 21 and the 731st of his career, tying him for fourth on the all-time list with Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne.
“I was waiting for a long time,” Jagr said. “I had some chances,?I just couldn’t score. I’m glad it’s behind me. Every record looks like there’s a big karma around it and it’s tough to break it. The great players, there’s great charisma and great karma around it.”
Logan Shaw, Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Pirri also scored for the Panthers and Jonathan Huberdeau had two assists. Al Montoya had 19 saves. The Panthers snapped a two-game losing streak and have won six of their last eight.
Alex Ovechkin scored for Washington and Grubauer stopped 23 shots in his first start in nine games. The Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals have dropped two straight. The Capitals had recorded at least a point in 14 previous games against the Panthers (12-0-2).
Montoya came within a couple minutes of recording a shutout before Ovechkin’s 14th goal of the season with 2:08 left pulled the Capitals within 3-1.
“They’re a great team that fires on all cylinders,” Montoya said. “Didn’t get the shutout, but we got the win. I’ll take that any night.”
Leading 2-0, Ekblad stretched the Panthers lead to 3-0 in the third period. During 4-on-4 play, Ekblad took a pass from Huberdeau in the right circle and fired it past Grubauer at 7:19 of the third.
“We beat a very, very good team tonight,” Ekblad said. “They had an 8-2-1 road record and that’s pretty darn good in this league.”
Pirri’s power-play goal gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead in the second. Pirri one-timed a pass from Brian Campbell in the right circle over Grubauer’s glove at 9:16.
The Capitals were sluggish for most of the game.
“We know how good we are and we can be better,” Ovechkin said. “Forget and move forward.”
Shaw’s empty-net goal, the second of his career, made the score 4-1.
“We never really did (get going),” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “I thought they won more of the battles. They got the saves when they needed to.”
Washington’s Tom Wilson received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for boarding Campbell at 5:43 of the third.
NOTES: The start of the game was delayed 17 minutes because the required emergency personnel left to assist at a nearby accident. ... Panthers D Steven Kampfer left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. ... C Nick Bjugstad missed the past five games and will be out indefinitely with an upper-body injury. ... Some of the Capitals players’ fathers and mentors accompanied them on the trip to Florida. ... Washington D Matt Niskanen played in his 600th NHL game.