Jaromir Jagr opened the scoring for the Florida Panthers midway through the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening.
The goal was his first as a member of the Panthers and the 717th of his career tying him with Phil Esposito for fifth all-time.
Jagr is now 14 goals back of Marcel Dionne for fourth spot on the list.
Jaromir Jagr’s first game with the Florida Panthers on Saturday was not statistically noteworthy. Although his team earned a 5-3 victory over Buffalo, Jagr recorded no points, had three shots on goal, and a minus-one rating in 17:09 minutes of ice time. His new team couldn’t be happier with the player they got though.
“He was outstanding,” coach Gerard Gallant told the Miami Herald. “He makes your team a lot better, gives your team a a lot of confidence.”
Jagr was credited with playing a leadership role too. While he was on the ice, 23-year-old forward Brandon Pirri scored back-to-back power-play goals just 1:21 minutes apart.
“He told me to shoot the puck, said ‘you got it’,” Pirri said. “I knew I had to be the shooter there, [Brian Campbell] put it in my wheelhouse and I teed off on it.”
Pirri now has 11 goals in 29 contests this season.
“At my age, I feel like I know a lot of things, but I just cannot do it anymore. So it’s just a lot easier to tell them what to do, because they still got the legs and hands to do it,” Jagr said about his new role on the young team, per the Panthers’ website.
The New Jersey Devils traded Jagr to Florida in exchange for a 2015 second-round pick and conditional 2016 third rounder on Thursday.
This was an important two points for the Panthers, but their work is far from done. They’re still four points behind Boston in the Wild Card race as the Bruins also won today.
The Boston Bruins will take this season’s frustrations to a whole new level if they don’t take advantage of a four-game stretch against teams currently not in a playoff position.
That stretch starts tonight in New Jersey. The B’s then return home for games against Arizona, Calgary, and Philadelphia.
Given the Devils and Flyers still feel they can catch the Bruins for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, those two contests in particular take on even more importance.
The B’s are coming off a 2-1 home loss to Vancouver in which they arguably deserved better. Boston finished with 41 shots to the Canucks’ 28, and Vancouver goalie Eddie Lack was named first star for good reason.
“I think that the only thing we talk about here is pretty simple: It’s not the offense; it’s the lack of finish,” coach Claude Julien said.
In fact, based on puck-possession metrics, the Bruins have actually been playing extremely well lately. In their last five games — only one of which they won (6-2 in Chicago) — they’ve had the best score-adjusted Fenwick in the NHL. Hence, GM Peter Chiarelli’s assertion prior to the Vancouver game that he was seeing some “promising signs” from his team.
Obviously, those “promising signs” have to start translating into wins — especially with the Florida Panthers (now featuring Jaromir Jagr!) just two points back and hosting last-place Buffalo Saturday.
Related: Firing talk doesn’t bother Bruins’ Julien
The Florida Panthers’ young core of forwards got a reinforcement and new mentor on Thursday when GM Dale Tallon acquired 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr from the New Jersey Devils.
To say that he brings a wealth of knowledge to the table would be an understatement. His NHL career started in 1990 while the Florida Panthers made their debut in 1993. Jagr has participated in 202 playoff contests. Florida has been in 38.
“(The message is) that we’re buyers and committed to winning,” Tallon said, per the Sun Sentinel. “[Owner Vinnie Viola] and we all said we want to win a championship. We’re putting the pieces together step by step. Hopefully, Jaromir can lead these young guys to the promised land. It’s a win-win for us.”
The future Hall of Famer will play alongside either 19-year-old Aleksander Barkov or 22-year-old Nick Bjugstad in his Panthers debut on Saturday. In addition to his keadership role, the Panthers are also hoping Jagr can bolster their offense as the team has averaged just 2.28 goals per contest. That lack of firepower is the single biggest reason Florida is two points shy of the Boston Bruins and the second Wild Card spot.
While Jagr’s experience isn’t in question, his production isn’t what it used to be. He has 11 goals and 29 points in 57 contests in 2014-15 and saw his role with the New Jersey Devils decrease following the firing of head coach Pete DeBoer in December. At the same time, Jagr can still contribute and has made it clear that he doesn’t want this to be his last season in the NHL.
In Tallon, it seems Jagr has found a man that’s on the same page.
“I’d love to see him play another year or two here,” Tallon said, according to the Miami Herald. “That’s what his goal is. His fitness level is second to none.”
Meanwhile, the new Jagr jerseys have already been prepared:
We shot this video this morning, before Jaromir Jagr was dealt to Florida.
So that’s one more guy who won’t be traded Monday.
Kimmo Timonen, meanwhile, is “good to go” for Saturday’s game against the Rangers.
Related: Trotz doesn’t see a ‘big, sexy, difference-maker guy’ on the market