New Jersey's Jagr scored a milestone and game-winning goal in overtime in the Devils' 2-1 victory over the Kings on Thursday night at Staples Center, handing the Kings and goalie Ben Scrivens their first loss in five games.
Overtime and open ice were the perfect recipe for the dynamic Jagr, who, with his 690th career goal in the NHL, tied the retired legend Lemieux for ninth-place all-time. It came shortly after Jagr exited the penalty box — the Kings and Devils put on an entertaining stretch of three-on-three action when Jagr and Kings captain Dustin Brown went off just 17 seconds into overtime.
New Jersey started off the play by capitalizing on Kings center Anze Kopitar's turnover in his own zone. The Devils Marek
Zidlicky cleverly held up and waited for Jagr to join the play.
"I kind of got the pass from behind. I didn't even see the goalie," Jagr said. "I didn't see the net.… That's the move — hold it, hold it, hold it. But you always put it top shelf — I'm not that good. That's the only [way] I had a chance — just outpatient the goalie. That's how I put it in. But I didn't really see the net, to be honest with you."
Jagr, in fact, has scored 121 game-winning goals in his career, tying another legend's record, Gordie Howe's mark.
"We definitely had lots of shots and lots of opportunities," Kopitar said. "I don't think the power play was as good as we needed it to be. We spent quite a bit of time in their zone. But we didn't finish it off."
The Kings are used to seeing this sort of work in the goal from the Devils' Cory Schneider, who was traded to New Jersey from Vancouver in the summer. He made 34 saves against the Kings.
"It's tough to score … best goaltending in the league over there," Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said.
It was the first time the Devils have been at Staples Center since they lost to the Kings in the 2012 Stanley Cup Final.
Almost 46 minutes went by and the Kings and the New Jersey Devils were unable to produce a single goal. That should not come as a big surprise, considering their meeting last week in Newark, in which the first goal of the game did not come until less than seven minutes remained and Dwight King scored.
And just like that, the offense returned at Staples Center Thursday.
The Devils and the Kings traded goals within a span of 1:05 in the third period, with New Jersey's Ryan Carter striking first at 5:52.
He essentially froze Kings defenseman Alec Martinez and flipped a backhander at the net, which went between the legs of Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell and beat Scrivens in the top corner.
It was just the seventh shot of the game for the Devils. They had only five shots through two periods and the Kings held them to two in the first. That tied a season low for the Kings who allowed two shots by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second period on Tuesday. The Devils finished with 15 shots; the Kings took 35.
But the Kings' response was swift and decisive with the goal going to Justin Williams at 6:57, tapping in a rebound after center Kopitar did the heavy lifting, attacking with speed down the left wing. For Williams, it was his team-leading ninth goal of the season. Kopitar has 11 points in his last 10 games. Brown had the second assist on the goal.