Jaromir Jagr was presented with a golden stick at center ice and congratulated via video from Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky on Thursday night.
Yes, Jagr got the point he needed to make history even if it didn’t come the way he pictured it.
Jagr took sole possession of second place on the NHL’s all-time scoring list as a shot deflected off his rear end and ended up in the back of the net on Sasha Barkov’s third-period goal.
Jagr wasn’t in much of a mood to party as Florida’s 3-1 loss to the visiting Boston Bruins deflated the celebration.
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“I was dreaming of something else,” Jagr said. “I was dreaming of a beautiful goal, a beautiful assist, and we win the hockey game.
“It’s not the way I wanted it to go, but we have to put it behind us and concentrate on winning games. That wasn’t a very good game.”
The point was the 1,888th of Jagr’s Hall of Fame career. It pulled him past Messier and just 969 behind Gretzky.
“I’m honored to pass the baton onto you,” Messier said.
Said Gretzky: “You played the game the right way.”
After the game, Jagr posed for pictures with his new stick and puck but kept his head, covered in a team ski cap, down for much of his talk with the media.
Florida’s lackluster loss to a Boston team it is chasing in the playoff standings makes that understandable.
“If the game doesn’t go the right way, I just can’t put it behind me,” Jagr said. “I always feel a responsibility for how my team plays. It’s not easy for me to talk about accomplishments.
“I wish I had no points and we won the game, and I could save this for another game. Obviously, this is what happened.”
Other than the Jagr celebration, Florida’s game wasn’t memorable in many ways as the Bruins found magic elixir against the Panthers once more.
The Bruins had lost six of their past eight overall — yet against the Panthers they have won 16 of the past 19 meetings.
The Panthers were trying to put together their first three-game winning streak of the season, yet fell short again.
“Of course, it feels great he got the milestone, but we lost a huge game,” Barkov said. “It was a four-point game for us. The milestone he reached is just unbelievable. So many points, I don’t know what to say. All the hard work he put into this — I’m very lucky to have been around this for 2 1/2 years.”
With most anticipating Jagr’s ascent up the NHL record books, the Panthers struggled out of the gate and were probably quite lucky to go into the first intermission in a scoreless tie.
Florida wouldn’t survive the second period unscathed though, as the Bruins scored twice in a span of 3:04 against backup goalie James Reimer early in the session.
Jagr had plenty of chances to get his point but was snuffed out by goalie Tuukka Rask, who has to just love seeing the Panthers on the schedule.
Finally in the third, Jagr and Barkov connected as they have many times in the past and got one past Rask.
“They didn’t give us much the whole game,” Jagr said. “It may have looked like something, but it was nothing great.”
In the end, an empty-net goal with 1:23 left killed off any realistic chance Florida had at a victory.
Now 3-0 against the Panthers this season, Rask improved to 18-3-1 in his career against Florida.
Boston got its first goal 2:09 into the second when Torey Krug picked off the puck in the neutral zone, worked in and found Frank Vatrano flashing in for the wrist shot.
Just over three minutes later, Patrice Bergeron got his 18th goal in 47 games against Florida to make it 2-0.
The Panthers get a chance to face a team they have played well against lately on Friday night, as Detroit visits BB&T Center just before the league’s Christmas break.
The Panthers are 3-0 against the Red Wings this season.
Jagr was all ready to go.
“It wasn’t our best game [Thursday], and we didn’t play well,” Jagr said.
“The best part is, we have another one [Friday].”