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Jagr scores 700th as Devils roll

The SportsXchange

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Asked what he planned to do with the puck from his 700th career goal, New Jersey Devils right winger Jaromir Jagr only grinned.

"I didn't take the puck," Jagr said Saturday, when the goal helped the Devils rout the New York Islanders, 6-1, at Nassau Coliseum. "I might save the 800 one."

At this point, who would bet against him?

Jagr, who is 42 and fresh off playing in his fifth Olympics, has looked as energetic as ever during his first season with the Devils, whom he leads in goals (19), assists (33) and points (52).

"I think with his age, I've had some older players before, you never know what you're going to get year-to-year," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "But he's surprised me. I expected a lot, but he's surprised even me."

Jagr, who leads active NHL players in goals as well as assists (1,040) and points (1,740), earned his milestone goal Saturday in typically impressive fashion at the 3:31 mark of the second.

Skating along the boards in search of someone to pass the puck to before he changed his mind, Jagr began maneuvering his way through four Islanders gathered deep in their zone.

With right winger Kyle Okposo trying to poke the puck free from behind, an off-balance Jagr launched a shot that snaked through the gaggle of Islanders, ticked off the skate of defenseman Andrew MacDonald and past goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.

"He's the king of offensive zone time, holding the puck and rolling people," DeBoer said. "It was a great goal."

An immediate and knowing cheer rose up from the crowd of 15,512, many of whom were wearing Devils sweaters.

Linesman Jonny Murray gave the milestone puck to Devils defenseman Andy Greene, who passed it along to the bench, where it may or may not have ended up in Jagr's possession.

"I beat probably five guys and went top shelf," Jagr said as he and the reporters around him laughed. "I always score like that."

Jagr elicited more laughter when he said he could reach 800 goals in two more seasons. Only Gordie Howe (801 goals) and Wayne Gretzky (894 goals) have scored 800 goals.

"You guys are laughing now," Jagr said. "I'll be laughing then."

Jagr did grow reflective and serious when he discussed the work ethic that has allowed him to thrive at an age when most players have long since retired.

"The only difference (at his age) is you might get a little more tired," Jagr said. "So when you're tired, you have a choice: Work through it or take a rest. Once you take a rest, you're done. When you work through it, it doesn't matter how old you are.

"Sound advice for other people in the world. That's the way it is. Once you're tired and you take the rest, if you do it once, you start liking it and you're going to do it again and again and again. And the game is over after that."

Jagr's goal began a four-goal second for the Devils and allowed another New Jersey graybeard to add to his Hall of Fame resume.

Goaltender Martin Brodeur, a lifelong Devil who is the NHL's all-time leader in wins and games played, made 18 saves in earning his 683rd victory in his 1,249th game.

Brodeur said he tapped his stick on the ice after Jagr's goal, which is a tribute he rarely pays to anyone.

"Playing for the Devils, we don't get too many guys with these kind of milestones," Brodeur said with a laugh in noting the Devils' notoriously grind-it-out style.

The memorable win may have been the last for Brodeur in a Devils uniform. The 42-year-old, who lost his job to Cory Schneider earlier this season, has started only two of New Jersey's last 11 games and is a candidate to be moved as Wednesday's trade deadline approaches.

"Two games left before the trade deadline; we'll see what that's going to bring," Brodeur said. "If I do get traded, this is probably going to be my last game. If not, hopefully there'll be more."

Center Adam Henrique scored in the first, left winger Ryan Clowe, defenseman Marek Zidlicky and Mark Fayne scored in the second and defenseman Eric Gelinas added a power play goal in the final minute of the third for the Devils (26-22-13).

New Jersey won its second in a row to remain three points behind third-place Philadelphia in the Metropolitan Division.

Okposo scored in the second for the Islanders (23-31-8), who gave up four power play goals in losing for the eighth time in their last 10 games.

"Special teams played a huge factor in this game, as it normally does," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "We're not the type of team right now (that's) going to score four, five, six a night. We've just got to get better on the penalty kill."

Nabokov gave up five goals on only 19 shots in the first two periods before he was pulled for Anders Nilsson, who stopped 15 shots in the third.

NOTES: RW Jaromir Jagr became the third player to score his 700th career goal at Nassau Coliseum. Marcel Dionne scored his 700th while playing for the Rangers on Oct. 31, 1987. Wayne Gretzky scored his 700th while playing for the Kings on Jan. 3, 1991. ... Before the game, the Islanders recalled G Anders Nilsson from Bridgeport of the AHL and sent G Kevin Poulin to the same affiliate. Poulin is 11-16-1 for the Islanders this season, while Nilsson is 1-2-2 in two earlier stints with New York. ... The Islanders scratched LW Matt Martin, who missed his second straight game because of a lower body injury, as well as D Matt Carkner and D Radek Martinek. Islanders coach Jack Capuano said before the game he hopes Martin and C Frans Nielsen (broken hand) will be available Sunday, when the Islanders play their third game in four days, hosting Florida. ... D Bryce Salvador, the Devils' captain, was scratched because of a bruised collarbone he sustained Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. New Jersey also scratched C Damien Brunner (thigh) and D Peter Harrold. ... G Martin Brodeur last played a complete game for the Devils on Jan. 18, when he took the loss as the Devils fell 3-2 to the Phoenix Coyotes. ... The Devils complete their post-Olympic stretch of three games in four days when they host the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

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