Jonathan Huberdeau

Video: Jaromir Jagr scores first goal at 45 with style

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You know, it would make an awful lot of sense if a bye week would be especially kind to a guy like Jaromir Jagr.

Whatever the case may be, he’s been riding the wave of playing with talented teammates Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov, but you can’t say he was just a passenger on the 760th goal of his distinguished career.

To little surprise, it marks another milestone for the legendary Florida Panthers winger; he became just the third player in NHL history to score a goal at age 45 or older. He felt at least a little like a goal he would score at age 25, as you can see in the video above.

Maybe this is reaching a bit, but another interesting gray-haired accomplishment is in reach, too:

Strangely fitting on a night in which Mikko Rantanen, a player who was born in Jagr’s prime in 1996, scored his first career overtime goal for Colorado.

Update: The Panthers ended up beating the Ducks 4-1. Oh, and Jagr added another very specific bit of history.

Panthers’ present to Jagr: A wild OT win vs. Sharks

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The Florida Panthers twitter feed joked about needing coffee for a rare late game in San Jose against the Sharks, but their eventual 6-5 OT win could leave their fans so excited they’ll struggle to sleep.

(Or … conversely, so spent emotionally that they conk out on their coaches.)

If you want an idea of how thrilling this game was at times, consider this: the latter events of the contest probably topped the five-goal first period.

Consider some of the high points of what happened late in the contest:

  • Jaromir Jagr celebrated his 45th birthday with the 1,900th point of his distinguished, remarkable NHL career. At that point, it seemed like Florida might just put a bow on this game with a 5-3 lead.
  • Joe Pavelski had other ideas. The Sharks captain scored two goals to send this game into overtime, hitting the 20-goal mark in the process. It remains to be seen how injured Roberto Luongo is from the sequence in which Pavelski made it 5-5, but he was at least hurt enough to leave the game with about 30 seconds remaining in regulation.
  • This forced James Reimer into the net, aka the guy who very briefly joined the Sharks (watching Martin Jones during the playoffs, more or less). Reimer ended up making two saves and will probably be credited with a win.

  • The Panthers put together some exciting chances in a brief overtime period, including a thwarted semi-breakaway attempt by Michael Matheson. Eventually, Jonathan Huberdeau continued his red-hot if far-too-late start to the season with the OT winner, thanks to a ludicrous pass by Aleksander Barkov.

Oh yeah, the game also included some brilliant saves and a failed Pavelski penalty shot attempt … and that five-goal first period.

After the Blues really kept the lid on the Red Wings in a low-scoring game at Joe Louis Arena, just about everything happened at the Shark Tank.

San Jose has to be frustrated in its play lately, although grabbing a point here shows that the Sharks won’t just go easily. The Panthers, meanwhile, likely feel as optimistic as they’ve been in some time about a possible charge toward a wild card spot.

“Wild” certainly seemed to be the theme of this one.

WATCH LIVE: Florida Panthers at San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE, CA - NOVEMBER 05:  Shawn Thornton #22 of the Florida Panthers fights with Micheal Haley #38 of the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on November 5, 2015 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Both the San Jose Sharks and Florida Panthers have some work to do, even if the Sharks top their division while the Panthers are on the outside of the East playoffs.

Need proof? Merely look at their records in the last 10 games:

Sharks: 5-2-3
Panthers: 5-3-2

Not awful by any means, but there are certainly signs for improvement.

For your viewing pleasure, consider that both teams boast young talent (Logan Couture, Jonathan Huberdeau) to go with some of the league’s most beloved elder statesmen in Jaromir Jagr and Joe Thornton.

You can watch on NBCSN, online and via the NBC Sports App. Click here for the livestream.

On Jagr’s 45th birthday, Panthers begin crucial California swing

SUNRISE, FL - DECEMBER 22: Jaromir Jagr #68 of the Florida Panthers poses with puck marked with "1888". Jagr took sole possession of 2nd place in all time points in the NHL passing Mark Messier. The Panthers played the Boston Bruins at the BB&T Center on December 22, 2016 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
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The Florida Panthers are rested and healthy and ready to make a run.

But a three-game journey through California could just as soon doom their playoff hopes. They’re in San Jose tonight (on NBCSN), Anaheim Friday, and Los Angeles Saturday. Then, on their way back to Florida, they have to make a stop in St. Louis to take on the revitalized Blues.

“We know these games are very important to us to start climbing the standings and get ourselves into a playoff spot,” defenseman Aaron Ekblad said, per the Miami Herald.

wild-cardThe Panthers are coming off a 7-4 victory in Nashville on Saturday, an encouraging bounce-back after that bye-week “hangover” loss to the Kings.

But in order to make the playoffs, it’s estimated the Panthers (24-20-10) will have to go around 16-9-3 in their remaining 28 games. With a full lineup, including Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, that’s doable. Any extended losing streaks, however, and it will be tough to recover.

Of note, today is Jaromir Jagr‘s 45th birthday. The ageless wonder is by far the oldest player in the NHL. The next oldest is Shane Doan, who’s 40.

The fifth overall draft pick in 1990, Jagr played for the Pittsburgh Penguins as an 18-year-old rookie. At the time, the oldest player on the Pens was Bryan Trottier, who is now 60.

What’s been the key to his longevity?

“When they’re talented and skilled, if players in any sport decide that they can work as hard as anybody else, then they can play forever,” Jagr said, per the Sun-Sentinel. “They’ll always have the edge. … You can’t take a day off. Once you do you lose it very quickly.”

NHL on NBCSN Doubleheader: Blues vs. Red Wings; Panthers vs. Sharks

ST. LOUIS, MO - JANUARY 19: Vladimir Tarasenko #91 of the St. Louis Blues is tripped while moving the puck up the ice against Brendan Smith #2 and Niklas Kronwall #55 both of the Detroit Red wings at the Scottrade Center on January 19, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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The NBC Sports Group continues its coverage of the 2016-17 NHL season with a doubleheader on Wednesday night. In the early game, The St. Louis Blues visit the Detroit Red Wings at 8:00 p.m. ET. To watch the game online, click here.

Earlier this month, the St. Louis Blues fired Ken Hitchcock and they replaced him Mike Yeo. Before the firing, the Blues were a mess. They couldn’t string together wins, neither of their goalies were able to stop the puck and they were plummeting in the standings.

But since Yeo took over, he’s been able to get the team back on the right track. The Blues have won four games in a row and they’re 5-1-0 under their new head coach.

What’s been the biggest difference? Well, the easy answer is to say that they’re finally starting to get some solid goaltending from Jake Allen, but it goes beyond that. They’ve been able to help Allen out by limiting their opponents’ time and space in the defensive zone and they’ve also blocked a ton of shots.

“A lot of the stuff that’s changed is us in front of him,” Alex Pietrangelo said, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’re taking care of stuff in front of the net more now than (we have) ever, not allowing second opportunities like we were before. It seems like they’re making the first save like they have all year and then we’re taking care of the rest.”

St. Louis will come into tonight’s game well-rested, as they haven’t played since their big win in Montreal on Saturday night. They’ll play four games over the next six days before heading on their bye week from Feb. 21-25.

The Red Wings’ 25-year playoff streak is in serious jeopardy of being snapped if they don’t turn things around quickly. Detroit enters tonight’s action in last place in the Eastern Conference. They’re nine points behind Toronto for the final Wild Card spot, but they need to leap over eight teams to get there.

With so few sellers emerging at this point in time, it might be in Detroit’s best interest to sell off assets and recuperate prospects and draft picks.

“Certainly, we’re in a way more difficult position today than we were a week ago,” GM Ken Holland said, per MLive.com. “There’s about a third of the season to go. Our players and coach, everybody is going to get ready and try to win a game on Wednesday against St. Louis. I’m looking at the standings, but at the same time I’m talking to people and seeing what their needs are.”

As mentioned above, the Blues are coming into this game hot, but the good news for Detroit is that Petr Mrazek has dominated St. Louis during his NHL career.

As MLive.com points out, Mrazek has four wins in five games against the Blues and he has a 1.25 goals-against-average and a .951 save percentage during that span.

In the late game, the Panthers will take on the Sharks in San Jose. You can watch that game online by clicking here.

After winning the Atlantic Division last season, the Panthers have been a bit of a disappointment in 2016-17. They’re currently on the outside looking in when it comes to the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but the return of Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleskander Barkov has given them a boost.

The Panthers are 2-1 since Huberdeau made his way back from an Achilles injury and he’s recorded an impressive five points during that time.

No matter how well they’re playing right now, going out West is never an easy task for any team in the East.

“This is a tough arena to come into,” Nick Bjugstad said, per the Miami Herald. “We have to be ready for the environment, they come hard the first 10 minutes and their fans are really into it. We have to be ready like we were in Nashville.”

The Sharks have picked up points in eight of their last 10 contests. That’s allowed them to get a little breathing room at the top of the Pacific Division. They’re three points ahead of Anaheim with a game in hand and five points ahead of Edmonton.

Even though there’s a bit of distance between them and their division rivals, the Sharks are still coming back from a tough road trip that saw them go 1-1-2 in Buffalo, Boston, Philadelphia and New Jersey.

They were able to salvage that trip with a 4-1 victory over New Jersey on Sunday thanks to Brent Burns‘ two goals.

“His shot is unbelievable,” Logan Couture told CSN Bay Area. “The ability he has to get his shot through, there’s nobody in the league that does it better.”

Burns enters tonight’s game with 24 goals and 59 points in 57 games.

Can you say “Hart Trophy”?