With all the pressure and praise heaped on budding star Claude Giroux
heading into the Winter Classic, many predicted aging wonder Jaromir Jagr
, Giroux's linemate, could be a difference-maker Monday at Citizens Bank Park.
And he might well have been, though not in the way anyone could have predicted.
Late in the first period, Jagr aggravated a calf strain he sustained on Dec. 29 in the Flyers' last game before the Winter Classic, against the Penguins. He skated only two more shifts, but was a virtual nonfactor, eventually missing the final 35 minutes.
"Last game I sprained my leg, it was a little bit (of) swelling," said Jagr, who ultimately went 10 shifts totaling 7:09. "Then, late in the first period it was getting worse and worse. I tried (to come) back, but I just couldn't skate 100 percent. I just thought, I cannot help my team."
With 3:02 to go in the first, Jagr provided a rare moment of excitement in a subdued opening period when he split two Rangers defenders. After the game, Jagr pinpointed the move as the beginning of the end of his night.