EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry for the delay due to technical issues. In this edition we review Thursday’s win over Toronto and preview Saturday’s game with Detroit. Highlights from NHL.com will be added later.
TORONTO–Maintaining a disciplined approach enabled the last place Toronto Maple Leafs to stay within striking distance of the Florida Panthers until a pair of empty net goals secured a 4-1 victory for the first-place victors.
Even the two goals scored by Jussi Jokinen were uncommon, more reminiscent of what one might see on a pool table than an ice hockey rink, but they provided the margin of victory even though a goal by the Leafs Morgan Reilly kept Toronto in the game until Jaromir Jagr scored his 24th goal of the season and 746th of his career with a long 150′ redirect of a Brian Campbell clearing attempt into an empty net to restore a two goal cushion that was doubled when Teddy Purcell scored in the final 3 seconds to close out the scoring.
Highlights of the game from NHL.com can be seen here…
A few Jagr photos from the Toronto game, also courtesy of NHL.com…
The goal was Jagr’s 30th as a Florida Panther in 78 games played with the upstart team which has played at better than a 103-point clip since his arrival at the trade deadline last season. While this website and many others in the hockey world make a big deal about Jagr’s career milestones, he is enjoying a fine season both league wide and among right wings for a player of any age as our exclusive JAGRometer.com graphic shows.
Of course, no edition of JAGRometer.com would be complete without the up-to-date Jagr-O-Meter, which shows #68 is now within 30 points of tying Mark Messier as the NHL’s second all-time best total of 1887 points. That achievement as well as 1900 points will have to wait until next year if Jagr returns to the NHL as expected, and all contract talk will be postponed until after the season.
The Panthers are home for a day and host the Detroit Red Wings Saturday night at BB&T Center before staring a three-game road trip that will take them to Manhatten to play the New York Rangers Monday night at Madison Square Garden, followed by games with Boston Thursday and intra-state rival Tampa Bay Saturday, March 26.
The Boston game will be a matchup of the Atlantic Division’s top two teams. The Panthers hold a 3-point advantage over Boston following the Bruins 4-0 loss Friday night in Anaheim. Following the Tampa Bay game Florida will close out the season with seven games against teams currently out of the playoffs. Tickets for remaining home games can be purchased through Panthers.nhl.com.
The Panthers can gain a 10-point lead over Detroit if they put the Red Wings in regulation tonight in the final meeting of the season between the two teams.
Scenes of celebration like this photo of Jagr passing Gordie Howe as the NHL’s third-all time leading scorer will go a long way toward making a win over Detroit more likely. After a nice run earlier in the season the Red Wings best hope for the playoffs is one of the two wild card slots they are battling to earn with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.