Jaromir Jagr finally catches former teammate Mario Lemieux in NHL career points

It took New Jersey Devils winger Jaromir Jagr several years and more than 500 extra games to get to the point where he could finally tie Mario Lemieux, his illustrious former Pittsburgh Penguins teammate, in career NHL points.

But tie him he did, and it took only 57 seconds into the game tonight to get the job done with a worthy assist on a goal by Adam Henrique against the Philadelphia Flyers, to whom they eventually lost in overtime, 3-2.

Jagr and Lemieux, who retired after the 2005-06 season, now sit tied for seventh place on the all-time points list with 1,723 apiece (32 behind Steve Yzerman, who is himself 16 behind Marcel Dionne).

When Jagr passes Lemieux, and surpass him he soon will, he will have hurdled a psychological barrier that might have, subconsciously, kept some hockey fans from respecting him as one of the best to ever jump over the boards.

The media attention for this milestone should help in spreading his gospel.

Tonight, Jagr took a pass just over the blueline on the right boards, drifted and deked into the low right faceoff circle, then backhanded the puck through the crease and past Flyers goalie Ray Emery onto Henrique's stick in front of the empty net. 

Jagr is also tied for seventh place on the career-goals list with Mark Messier at 694, and sole ownership of both number-seven positions looks to be a lock this year, barring a sudden major injury or unexpected midseason retirement.

Of Jagr’s 13 goals this season (in 44 games, good for second on the Devils), four have been game winners, and the last one—against the Ottawa Senators three weeks ago—moved him into sole possession of first place for such markers with 122, one GWG past iconic hockey great Gordie Howe.

The next player on that particular list, with 108 game clinchers, happens to be the Anaheim Ducks’ Teemu Selanne (number 15 on the all-time points board, with 1,441), who also happens to be one of only three active NHLers—along with Jagr and the San Jose Sharks’ Joe Thornton (number 49)—in the career top 50 in points.

Jagr will be playing for the Czech Republic at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi next month (his fifth appearance), and Selanne will represent Finland (for his sixth Games). Thornton narrowly missed making the cut for the Canadian team.

Although Jagr, 41, is poised to move past Lemieux in career points, Super Mario took only 915 games to record his 1,723 ticks, whereas Jagr required 1,435, 520 contests more.

Jagr has set more than three dozen league and team records during his NHL career and has won the Stanley Cup (twice), the Art Ross Trophy (five times), the Hart Memorial Trophy, Olympic gold, and world-championship gold (twice).

This latest milestone cements his reputation as the most productive European-born (Czechoslovakia) player ever to lace up in the NHL and one of the best-ever worldwide.

Jagr leads the Devis--his seventh NHL team since being drafted by the Penguins fifth overall in 1990--in points so far this season with 35.

(And guess which astute scribe managed to grab him with his last pick in this year’s NHL fantasy draft? As if it *#!^*#! helped.)

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