Without playoff goal, Jagr 'not going to give up'

Saturday, 05.18.2013 / 6:46 PM
Dan Rosen  - NHL.com Senior Writer

BOSTON -- Despite a Hall of Fame resume, Boston Bruins forward Jaromir Jagr is in a battle with his confidence heading into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Rangers.

Jagr hasn't scored a goal in eight Stanley Cup Playoff games this season and is goalless in 17 consecutive playoff games dating to last season. It's the longest postseason drought of his career.

"It doesn't really matter how many goals you've scored before, the confidence comes with any play -- any good play can give you the confidence, any good pass that can score a goal can change it around," Jagr said after practice Saturday at TD Garden, where Game 2 will be played Sunday (3 p.m. ET, NBC, RDS, TSN). "You've just got to work hard and go through it. I'm not going to give up. Of course I'd like to help this team a little more than I do right now, but the only thing I can do about it is work hard."

Jagr's work ethic has never been in doubt. With the Philadelphia Flyers last season he had keys to the practice facility so he could work out whenever he wanted to. It wasn't the only place he's done that.

But his fit with the Bruins has been questionable since his arrival in a trade from the Dallas Stars on April 2.

Boston coach Claude Julien tried Jagr with just about everybody in the lineup, including fourth-line center Gregory Campbell, over the last month of the regular season. Julien couldn't quite find a line that Jagr worked on -- until now.

Julien said he thinks he may have discovered something with Jagr on the right side of Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. It's a line he plans to keep intact as long as the Bruins keep winning and Bergeron and Marchand, at least, keep producing like they have been.

Bergeron scored the game-tying goal and overtime winner in Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs; he set up Marchand for the overtime winner in Game 1 on Thursday.

"We moved him [Jagr] up to Bergeron's line the last couple of games, and that line, whether it's by coincidence or whatever, has started to produce," Julien said.

Jagr also said he senses he has been more effective with Bergeron and Marchand even though he hasn't scored.

"I've been playing better, that's for sure," Jagr said. "But you never know; hopefully I'm going to feel better and I hope I'm going to score more. That's the way it is. It's not the first time, it's not going to be the last time. Everything is great and everyone can play good and everything is good, but you've got to battle through when things don't go the best way."

Julien said he doesn't believe the battle is taking a toll on Jagr, who is 41 years old.

"He's not beaten down, he's certainly not done," Julien said. "If the time comes where I see he needs a little bit of a break, I'll make sure to give it to him, whether it's practice or skipping some shifts. Right now, he seems to feel OK to go, and I check with him on those situations. He's handled it well.

"Say what you want, he's not 25 anymore."

Even if he was, Jagr said he wouldn't be feeling any different than he does now.

"Everything is in your head, everything is about confidence," Jagr said. "When everything is good you feel good and can play another 10 years. When everything goes wrong you can be 25 and feeling like you should quit. It's with any hockey player, any writer like you guys. I'm sure you've had a time when you wanted to quit. I'm the same way."

He's not ready to quit yet, not with the Bruins owning a 1-0 lead over the Rangers in the best-of-7 series.

"If you ask any player on any team, they'd probably tell you they felt a lot better three months ago than they do now," Jagr said. "It doesn't really matter. The most important thing is you should feel better than the guy you're playing against. That was always my thing. Even if I felt tired I was always telling myself that they guy I was playing against was more tired than me. You have to try to trick the brain."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl

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