SUNRISE, Fla. -- Records are made to be broken, especially if you’re Jaromir Jagr.
The Florida Panthers winger scored twice in Saturday’s 3-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets to overtake Brett Hull for third place on the NHL’s all-time list with the 742nd goal of his legendary career.
“I don’t really think about it, to be honest with you,” Jagr said of the milestone. “I don’t feel I played real well the last few games, so I wanted to make sure I played a little bit better today. I had a little bit more jump.”
Jagr moved into a tie with Hull at 4:53 of the second period after redirecting a centering pass from defenseman Dmitry Kulikov over the right shoulder of Jets goaltender Michael Hutchinson to tie the game at 1.
Not long after that, Jagr took sole possession of third place, scoring No. 742 for his career on a wrist shot from close range at 13:37 of the third period to make it 3-1, securing both a victory as well as his place in history.
Jussi Jokinen, who was playing in his 800th NHL game, assisted on both goals.
“It was awesome,” said goaltender Roberto Luongo, who stopped 29 of 30 shots to earn his 24th victory of the season. “He was flying tonight. You could tell that he was on top of every puck, creating chances, skating well. It was probably one of his best games of the year… It’s fun to be a part of something like that.”
Jagr, who broke into the NHL in 1990 with the Pittsburgh Penguins, began the season in fifth place all-time with 722 goals, but has since passed Marcel Dionne (731 goals) and Hull (741). Wayne Gretzky is the all-time leader with 894 goals, followed by Gordie Howe with 801.
“To go ahead of Brett Hull, it’s unbelievable,” head coach Gerard Gallant said. “It’s great for him tonight. He had great chances. He had great jump in his legs today and was really, really good. We were happy to see that.”
Jagr, who celebrated his 44th birthday on Feb. 15, has said on more than one occasion that he hopes to play until he’s 50. He currently leads the Panthers in both goals (20) and points (43), helping the team capture first place in the Atlantic Division.
So what does Jagr think he needs to do to stay on top of his game?
Well, a little wishing couldn’t hurt.
“When I got the birthday cake for (my) 44th birthday, you know you get a wish,” Jagr said with a smile. “I said, ‘I wish I was going to be a goal scorer.’ So far, it worked. So maybe I’m going to catch Gordie and Wayne Gretzky, too.”