Jaromir Jagr breaks NHL record for career game-winning goals (UPDATE: Well, not yet)
Game-winning goals are a tricky stat in the NHL. After all, a goal in the first minute of a 1-0 shutout victory is as much a game-winning goal as one scored in the final minute of the third period.
Are they an indication that the player scored some important goals in his career? Sure. Are they an indication that the player simply scored a huge number of a goals in his career?
Without question – and Jaromir Jagr has scored a huge number of goals in his career.
On Tuesday night, Jagr set the all-time record for career game-winning goals in the NHL with 119, breaking a stalemate with Hall of Famer Phil Esposito with a second-period tally in the New Jersey Devils’ 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
(UPDATE: The NHL corrected itself on Tuesday night. "CORRECTION: Jaromir Jagr's 119 GWGs are the most of any player since 1967-68. Gordie Howe holds the all-time record with 121.")
The goal was vintage Jagr: Using his long reach to swipe the puck away when Marty St. Louis whiffed on it, and then using whatever wheels he has left in his 41-year-old legs on a breakaway before burying the puck high on a helpless Ben Bishop.
It was his third goal of the season, his 684th in his career and the 119th time one of his tallies ended up as the game winner.
Jagr had four game-winners in as a rookie in 1990-01. He led the NHL with 12 in 2005-06, a 62-goal season. He's never had a season without at least one game-winning goal, and has 16 more in the postseason.
The next-highest ranking active player on the game-winners list? Teemu Selanne of the Anaheim Ducks with 108.