Jaromir Jagr (Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images)
43-year-old Jaromir Jagr may have singlehandedly saved the Florida Panthers season. After opening the scoring for Florida in their outing against the Senators, Jagr registered the game-winning goal on a brilliant fake shot-to-wraparound.
On a Panthers team where more than half the roster is under the age of 30, it could be considered surprising that the only 40-plus skater on the roster would come up clutch in one of the biggest games of Florida’s season. It’s not really as surprising when that 43-year-old hero is Jaromir Jagr, though.
Jagr opened the scoring for the Panthers, giving them a 1-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the second period while on the power play. But the highlight-reel goal – and the game-winning tally – came later.
With little more than six minutes remaining, Jagr came rocketing down the left wing and absolutely froze Ottawa’s Craig Anderson with a fake slapshot. With Anderson down and out, Jagr swung around the net and buried Florida’s third goal of the night:
The tally was Jagr’s 15th of the season and gives him 41 points on the year. In 14 games with the Panthers, since the trade deadline deal that brought him to Florida, Jagr has 12 points in 14 games. His two goals Sunday couldn’t have come at a bigger time, either.
Florida, who trails both Ottawa and Boston in the race for the second and final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference, needed the win in a bad way. The victory puts them a single point behind the Senators and just four back of the Bruins. Both Florida and Boston have six games remaining on their schedules, with the key matchups coming tomorrow and April 9 against the Bruins.
If Florida can win one or both, they will drastically improve their chances of sneaking into the post-season. If Jagr, who has seven points in his past six games, keeps this up, maybe he can be the hero the Panthers needed all along.