At 18 years old and playing his second NHL game, Jaromir Jagr scored his first NHL goal when the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the New Jersey Devils 7-4 at Pittsburgh Civic Arena 25 years ago today.
A quarter-century later, Jagr, 43, is entering his second season with the Florida Panthers, and 22nd in the NHL.
Parked in front of the Devils net on Oct. 7, 1990, Jagr scored off the rebound of defenseman Jim Johnson’s shot from the point. In goal for the Devils was Chris Terreri, currently the Devils’ goaltending coach.
“I remember that,” Jagr told NorthJersey.com on Sept. 11, 2013. “It was my second game. It was like 17-2, the score. It was different hockey back then.”
Jagr was pardoned for the slight exaggeration, but he recalled the Penguins missing an injured Mario Lemieux that night.
“He had a bad back,” Jagr said. “He didn’t play that first half of the year. If he would play, that score would be 17-2.”
It was the first of 27 goals and 57 points for Jagr, who helped the Penguins cap the 1990-91 season by winning the Stanley Cup for the first time.
Jagr has gone on to become one of seven players to score 700 NHL goals, joining Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Brett Hull, Marcel Dionne, Phil Esposito and Mike Gartner. His 722 goals, 1,080 assists and 1,802 points are tops among active NHL players. He’s nine goals behind Dionne for fourth all-time, and 48 points behind Howe for third in League history.