The Florida Panthers had a chance Tuesday night to beat the Montreal Canadiens and head into 2016 in a style few would have predicted: sitting atop the Atlantic Division. So in a tie game, who did the Panthers turn to? Ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr.
Jagr stepped on the ice for the second shift of the second period and his timing couldn’t have been better. Shortly after hitting the ice, Jagr picked the puck up in the Panthers’ zone and started a breakout. In seconds, the Panthers were cleanly entering the Canadiens’ zone which was followed by Jagr taking a beautiful cross-ice feed from Jonathan Huberdeau and walking in alone on Montreal netminder Ben Scrivens.
With a quick move Jagr faked like he was going wide on Scrivens before shovelling the puck up and over Scrivens’ glove for a gorgeous tally:
Jagr’s smile as he heads to the bench says it all. It helps that Jagr’s goal stood as the game-winner in an important divisional matchup.
With the goal, Jagr now has 11 on the season and is on pace for a 25-goal season at 43. He’s also on pace for 60-plus points at an age when most are considering jumping into coaching after hanging up the skates. Jagr’s 26 points are the most on the Panthers, and he is helping make the Cats into one of the greatest stories of the season.
Were it not for the Washington Capitals, Florida would be the hottest team in the league right now. The Panthers have won seven straight — tying a franchise record — and had the best December in team history with an 11-3-0 record, setting new marks for wins and points in a single month. Thanks to Tuesday’s win, the Panthers are one point ahead of the Canadiens with two games in hand.