45-year-old Panthers forward has 269 since milestone birthday, most in history
NEW YORK — Jaromir Jagr had two assists Friday to pass Gordie Howe with his 269th NHL point after turning 40, most in history.
“I’m going to pass him for the most points after 50,” Jagr said. “That’s what I’m looking for.”
Jagr has 1,907 NHL points, second behind Wayne Gretzky (2,857). Howe played until he was 42 then had 41 points in one season as a 51-year-old to finish with 1,850, fourth behind Mark Messier (1,887).
“It’s a big honor, no question about it,” Jagr said. “It’s no accident they call him Mr. Hockey, so it’s a big honor to me.”
The line of Jagr, Huberdeau and Barkov combined for two goals, three assists and a plus-6 rating to avenge a 5-2 loss at BB&T Center on March 7. Florida is five points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference into the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 12 games remaining.
“Who would have thought, the night we played the Rangers at home, they smoked us, who thought we would come here and win?” Jagr said. “Nobody gave us a chance. That’s probably going to be the same thing [Sunday at the Pittsburgh Penguins]. Not many people are going to believe we can win, but you never know. You start at 0-0.”
Jagr would become the fourth player in NHL history to play 1,700 games Sunday in Pittsburgh, where he began his NHL career at age 18 in 1990-91.
“Man, oh, man. I think everything’s been said about him,” Panthers coach Tom Rowe said. “He’s a very passionate, passionate guy for the game. His preparation is amazing, and that’s what I think is so good for our young guys to see how he prepares himself.
“What he does on the ice doesn’t surprise me anymore. The first time I went behind the bench in November and watching him, you appreciate him even more when you see him at ice level.”
“I care a lot. I want to play the best I can play,” he said. “I know it’s not going to be very good, but hopefully in some games I can be better.”
“I always go there to perform at a high level. It’s not about me. It’s about the team and about my teammates. I want to help them. I don’t want to be there just to be there. I want to help them, make them better.”
Wednesday will be Jagr’s 1,712 NHL game, fourth on the League’s all-time list. His 765 NHL goals are third behind Wayne Gretzky (894) and Gordie Howe (801).
“Nobody really cares what you did 20 years ago,” Jagr said when asked about his career accomplishments, which include five NHL scoring titles. “Show me what you can do for us now.”
Jagr’s work ethic has already made an impression on his new teammates.
“Just to see how hard he’s worked in the last week has really impressed a lot of our people, just with the amount of time he puts in on his game,” Gulutzan said. “That leaves a good impression on guys.”
The Flames wanted to make sure Jagr was ready for game action before putting him into the lineup.
“He needed to get up to speed. I mean, it’s not like there was a perfect day. He had no training camp. As much as everyone wanted him to come in and play and just jump in, he needed to skate and play and get up to speed,’ Gulutzan said. “He flew from [the] Czech [Republic] on Wednesday. He’s a great player, but he needed to play and skate and have some practices under his belt with the group.”
The Flames are 2-1-0 after winning 2-0 at the Anaheim Ducks on Monday.