Jaromir Jagr has achieved many milestones in a career which will certainly land him in the Hall of Fame one day. On Saturday, he returns to the city where he spent his first 11 NHL seasons in search of another.
Jagr seeks to become the 16th player in league history with 600 goals as his New York Rangers visit the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Penguins selected the then-18-year-old Jagr with the fifth overall pick in the 1990 draft, and the right wing helped Pittsburgh win the Stanley Cup in each of his first two seasons. He had 439 goals and 1,079 points for the Penguins - winning the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player in 1995-96 - before being traded to Washington following the 2000-01 season.
After scoring New York's only goal in Wednesday's 2-1 defeat at Carolina, Jagr has 599 for his career. Brendan Shanahan, who assisted on goal No. 599, is the only active player with more career goals (612) than Jagr.
Jagr's goal proved to be in vain, however, as Carolina's Rod Brind'Amour scored with 6:05 remaining to send the Rangers (10-8-1) to their second loss in three games.
"When you come in to play the Stanley Cup champions on the road, and you have a chance to make a statement, you can't have a breakdown," said defenseman Aaron Ward, who lost the puck behind the Rangers' net to set up Brind'Amour's goal.
"Are we disappointed with the effort? No. We did a lot of good things. We played well. ... It's not like we laid down against them."
Jagr's tally came on the heels of a two-goal effort in Tuesday's 3-2 victory over New Jersey. Shanahan has also been on top of his game, with two goals and four assists during a five-game points streak.
Jagr has 12 goals and 12 assists in 21 games against the Penguins since leaving the club, including a goal and two assists when the teams met Oct. 12 at Madison Square Garden.
That contest, though, belonged to Penguins second-year phenom Sidney Crosby, who had three assists before scoring the game-winning goal with four seconds left in Pittsburgh's 6-5 victory. He has six goals and eight assists in just nine career games against the Rangers, although New York has won five of those matchups.
Crosby scored twice Friday at Buffalo to bring his season goal total to nine, but it wasn't enough for the Penguins (8-7-2) to avoid their sixth loss in seven games as they fell 4-2 to the Sabres, who have the league's best record.
"We can play with these teams, but when we do it has to be for 60 minutes," Crosby said.
After facing the Rangers, the Penguins travel to Philadelphia on Monday to meet the last-place Flyers. New York returns home from a two-game trip for a pair of games against Southeast Division teams - Tampa Bay on Sunday and Carolina on Tuesday.