RALEIGH, NC – Jaromir Jagr had a throwback performance that might have made people watching think he was back in the magnificent mullet days of the 1990’s. The 41-year-old led all Bruins forwards with 21:51 of ice time and had 13 total shot attempts in Boston’s 4-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.
Jagr assisted on Boston’s first period goal for Milan Lucic and set the play up with a solid pass to Matt Bartkowski out at the right point, but was shaking his head postgame after getting robbed on a backdoor bid during a second period power play. Jagr set up Jordan Caron and Rich Peverley for power play scoring chances they weren’t able to finish on, and then switched sides when the next PP unit took the ice.
The crafty veteran winger was able to cut toward the backdoor where David Krejci found him with a slick cross-ice pass, and somehow Jagr was able to lift the bouncing puck in one sweeping motion. But Justin Peters made a stunning glove save of the mid-air shot and left Jagr shaking his head over missed offensive chances when the game was finished.
“It was just one of those nights, eh? I feel like every time we were out on the ice we had a scoring chance, but it just didn’t happen,” said Jagr, who now has seven points (1 goal, 6 assists) in six games since being dealt to Boston along with a plus-3 rating. “Sometimes I was too tired and I missed. On the 5-on-3 that was just a good save. I put it high too, but it was one of those nights.
“If I score on that one then I probably score four [goals]. A goal is a goal. We need to score goals. I need to work on it. I need to be a better goal-scorer, I guess. Some of those chances I feel like maybe I was too tired. Maybe a little hook and I lost it, and when I came from the corners either I missed the net or the goalie stopped it. We created a lot of chances from the boards, and that’s what I liked. Looch is pretty good. He can play one-on-one and find you.”
Jagr, Milan Lucic and Gregory Campbell finished with nine of Boston’s 30 shots for the game, and it was clear that was Boston’s most effective offensive line down the stretch in the third period. So Claude Julien kept going to them in hopes they could scratch for another goal, but instead the B’s just came up a little short in the finish category.
“He threw pucks at the net and we just weren’t in the right place to get those loose pucks that were coming out the other side,” said Julien. “I talked to that line late in the third and said ‘whatever side he shoots from one of you needs to be in front and the other one needs to be on the weak side’ because rebounds and loose pucks were coming out there.
“But we didn’t pound on those well enough tonight. But as far as [Jagr] is concerned, he created a lot. He continues to show that he’s strong on the puck, he finds guys and he brings it to the net.”
The only worry with Jagr is wearing out what’s been a very good thing thus far, and pushing the 41-year-old beyond where he can go at this point late in his Hall of Fame career. But then again Jagr likes to call himself “a freak” when asked about what he’s still able to do at an elite level well after his 40th birthday, and his minutes should scale back once again as Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand make their returns to the lineup in the next couple of weeks to finally give the Bruins coaching staff a full complement of forwards to choose from.