It appeared as though a New Jersey Devil set a new NHL record Tuesday night, but in a way that could only happen in the NHL, that record wasn’t actually set.
Jaromir Jagr scored the 119th game-winning goal of his career in New Jersey’s 2-1 win over Tampa Bay. The tally came off a second period breakaway Jagr created when he stripped Martin St-Louis of the puck – and after it passed Ben Bishop and the Devils sealed the victory, No. 68 surpassed Phil Esposito on the all-time list.
According to the NHL’s website, that goal put Jagr in sole possession of the No. 1 spot in career game-winning goals. Ah, but things aren’t as they seem. Elias Sports Bureau said Jagr is still two behind Gordie Howe. With a total of 121, Howe managed to elbow Jagr out of the record books a little longer. The NHL confirmed the mix-up.
The confusion lay in the fact the NHL website only displays certain stat collections as far back as 1967-68 (a mythical time when Toronto won Cups). So while Howe still appears as the No. 2 all-time goal scorer, he doesn’t have a record for game-winning goals.
But it’s still a great achievement for Jagr. And, in the context of the current Geezer Race playing out this season, that goal put Jagr 11 up on Teemu Selanne in game-winners. Selanne ranks fifth on the all-time list.
Teemu didn’t have as good of a night as Jagr, though. He had to leave his game in the third period after taking a stick to the face from Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn. (You know what to do.)
At 684 career goals now, Jagr is just six back of Mario Lemieux for ninth on the all-time goal scoring list and six ahead of Selanne. If he passes Lemieux, he should do it with a long mane blowing in the wind.
Jagr has a point in each of his past five games, totaling 10 points in 12 games to lead the Devils. But now I just have to question everything.
(EDIT: This article was corrected from the original, which stated Jagr had broken the record.)