Jaromir Jagr missed his first shot at passing Gordie Howe for third all-time in scoring Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes, but he made good on his second chance Monday night when the Panthers were hosting the Boston Bruins.
Late in the first period, with the Panthers down 3-0, Jagr crashed the net during a loose puck scramble and managed to bat a puck off the pad of Tuukka Rask. Jagr’s shot bounced back into the slot and onto the tape of Aleksander Barkov, who hammered the loose puck home. And while it wasn’t the most beautiful assist of Jagr’s career, it was one of the most important: the point was No. 1,851, putting Jagr one ahead of Gordie Howe:
Jagr’s assist was also his 49th point of the season, which makes him far and away the highest scoring 44-year-old player in league history. If Jagr continues his pace, he could remain on a 60-point pace, too, which would be the second time in the past three seasons Jagr has eclipsed or reached the 60-point mark.
Next on Jagr’s list now is Mark Messier, who, following Jagr’s assist, sits 36 points ahead of him for second all-time with 1,887 points. By the time the season ends, Jagr could make a considerable dent in that lead — his points pace would see him add 12 to his career total — before the season is through. That would set Jagr up, should he play next season, to pass Messier and become the second leading scorer of all-time.
When the season is over, Jagr will be an unrestricted free agent. Though he hasn’t officially signed an extension, Jagr has stated he wishes to play at least one more season. And, hey, if he can stick around a bit longer, maybe he can become only the second player to reach the 2,000-point mark in league history. Sure, there’s 149 points to go — but would anyone bet against Jagr?