Saturday, January 03, 2015

Jagr piles up milestones; Flyers close out road trip by faltering in Jersey

Newark, NJ -- Jaromir Jagr recorded his first hat trick in almost  nine years and set a league record in the process, Cory Schneider came up  with 18  saves, and  New Jersey  pounded Philadelphia  by a  5-2 count  at Prudential Center.

Jagr  became  the oldest  player in  NHL history  to score  three times in one contest,  doing so at  42 years, 322 days. The Czech veteran also crept closer to  Phil  Esposito (717)  on the  league's all-time  goals list, finishing the night with 714 career tallies.

Scott Gomez added a goal and two assists with Patrik Elias providing the other marker for the Devils, who won for just the third time in their last 13 games.

Andrew  MacDonald and  Vincent Lecavalier scored once each for the Flyers, who finished  their eight-game  road trip  at 3-4-1  after losing  its final  five dates.

Ray  Emery  allowed three goals  on 10  shots in the  first period to take the loss. Steve Mason -- winless in all five of his previous career starts against his team's Saturday opponent -- finished up with just six saves on eight shots.

Team captain and second-ranking scorer Claude Giroux did not play, one night after suffering a skate cut to the back of his left leg in Carolina. It ended his streak of 168 consecutive regular-season appearances dating back to the final game of the 2011-12 regular season.

The Devils recorded the game's first goal with 6:40 remaining. Emery played the puck behind his net, but a backhanded clear instead found the stick of Adam Henrique, and Jagr poked it home with a backhander from behind the goal line.

Elias scored just over two minutes later from the right side on a power play, after all four Flyers penalty killers drifted to the left side to watch Martin Havlat's cross-ice pass.

It was 3-0 for the hosts on a Jagr wrister with less than four seconds to go. He stripped Flyers defenseman Mark Streit near the blue line and within the span of several strides, uncorked a trademark wrister from the right wing.

New Jersey went up by four just before the midway point of regulation, as Gomez buried a low shot inside the right post to finish off a 4-on-2 break.

The rout continued and history was made at the 12:32 mark, when Gomez set up behind Mason and flipped a pass in front where Jagr, sliding towards the crease, was able to direct the puck in to cap his trifecta.

MacDonald finally punctured Schneider on a blast with 3:22 remaining before intermission, and Lecavalier fired through an R.J. Umberger screen at 5:59 of the third for a power-play strike.

A letdown at the end of the road, albeit one which had a league-mandated three-day break around Christmas is one thing; allowing five goals to a team whose only other offensive outburst came three months ago in a season opener against the same team is quite another.

The Orange and Black completed their run of 17 road games in 24 begun in mid-November at Montreal with a 7-12-5 mark overall, including 4-9-4 away from home. 

Notes: Jagr recorded his 15th NHL hat trick and first since March 22, 2006, when he scored all three goals for the Rangers in a 6-3 loss to the Flyers at Madison Square Garden ... Gordie Howe registered a hat trick for the Red Wings at age 41 in 1969 ... Prior to the contest, the Devils recalled defenseman Mark Fraser from Albany of the AHL ... Philly hadn't dropped five in a row without gaining a point beyond regulation since Nov. 27-Dec. 7, 2009, a losing skid which precipitated the removal of John Stevens and installation of Peter Laviolette as head coach ... The Flyers also played without forward Scott Laughton, deemed day-to-day with a lower-body injury ... Jagr, Henrique and Gomez all finished with game-high plus-4 ratings.
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