Jaromir Jagr passes Brett Hull, moves into third on career goals list
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Jaromir Jagr fulfilled his birthday wish in a big way.
The veteran forward scored twice to move into third place on the NHL career goals list and help the Florida Panthers beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 on Saturday night.
"When I got a birthday cake for my 44th birthday [on Monday], I said I wish I'm going to be a goal scorer," Jagr said. "So far it worked, so maybe I'm going to catch Gordie [Howe] and maybe Wayne Gretzky, too, you know?"
Jagr tied and then moved past Brett Hull and now has 742 goals, trailing only Gretzky (894) and Howe (801).
"I don't really think about it, but to be honest with you, 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," said Jagr, who has three goals in three games since his birthday. "I had a little bit more jump."
Reilly Smith scored the go-ahead power-play goal early in the third period and Roberto Luongo stopped 29 shots in his return after missing two games to help the Panthers win for just the third time in eight games (3-3-2).
Michael Hutchinson finished with 29 saves for the Jets, losers of three straight (0-2-1).
Jagr tied Hull with his first goal of the game 4:53 into the second period as he skated down the middle toward the goal, redirected a centering pass from Dmitry Kulikov and put the puck over Hutchinson's right shoulder to tie the score at 1.
"It was special. I couldn't even dream about it. First of all [Jagr] playing on the same team with me and then getting an assist on the history-making goal. It's really special," Kulikov said.
Jagr also earned praise from Hutchinson.
"He definitely showed why he's one of the best in the game," the Jets' goaltender said. "He's really good at protecting the puck, and he's got a quick shot."
Smith scored his 19th goal, at 3:58 of the third, to give Florida a 2-1 edge. The right winger fired a wrist shot from the right circle, and the puck beat Hutchinson to the right side.
Jagr then scored his 20th of the season and the tiebreaker to move into sole possession of third on the career list on a wrist shot from close range with 6:23 left in the third period to make it 3-1.
It marked Jagr's 126th career multigoal game -- the 10th most in NHL history, according to Elias Sports Bureau research -- and his 19th career 20-goal season, tied for third most.
"There's no reason to quit," Jagr said. "I love the game. There's a million people who wanted to be in my position. If I can play in the NHL, why not keep going?"
At 44 years and 5 days, Jagr became the oldest player in NHL history to score 20 goals in a season. Howe did so at 42 years, 324 days in 1970-71, according to Elias.
Luongo played for the first time since allowing five goals on 28 shots in a 5-0 loss against Nashville a week earlier.
"It was a tough week for me. I wasn't happy obviously with my last few starts," Luongo said. "Put in a good week of work. Usually it gets you over the hump, and I felt good in the game. I felt sharp and on top of every puck."
Panthers defenseman Michael Matheson, the team's first-round pick in 2012 out of Boston College, and center Kyle Rau, the Panthers' third-round selection in 2011 out of the University of Minnesota, both made their NHL debuts.
Panthers C Jonathan Huberdeau (upper body) left the game early in the first period and did not return. ... Winnipeg was without C Bryan Little, who was listed as day-to-day following a hit he took from Anton Stralman in Thursday's 6-5 shootout loss at Tampa Bay. ... The Panthers improved to 13-1-2 when Jagr scores a goal. ... Kulikov and Jussi Jokinen each had two assists.
ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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