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Jagr scores game-winner in Bruins debut

The SportsXchange

BOSTON -- He had just scored the game's only goal in his first game with his latest new team. He played almost 19 minutes, had a team-high five shots on goal and was clearly the player everyone came to see on what turned out to be a special night.

And when it was over, Jaromir Jagr said he was exhausted --and was apologizing.

"I told them (new linemates Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand), I've got to get better," he said after he scored 1:20 into the second period and Tuukka Rask stopped all 40 shots in a 1-0 victory over the struggling New Jersey Devils for Boston's third straight win. "I felt bad for them, they had to play with me. But I've got to get better, that's for sure.

"I was very tired. I've got to get better for sure."

Jagr, acquired Tuesday from Dallas for two young players and a draft pick that could turn out to be a first rounder, said the events of the last few days; the surprise of getting traded, moving to Boston and not sleeping much Wednesday night, were all factors in his being weary.

Remember, we're talking about a 41-year-old guy here.

"Like I said, I've got to get better for sure," he said. "I've got to get better so it's going to be easier for them."

His new coach was impressed. So were his new linemates.

"He's good. He did a great job for a guy that just arrived yesterday and didn't really practice with us much," said coach Claude Julien. "He played his game. His goal was something we like to see and it's called net drive.

"It doesn't have to be a highlight goal but he was heading to the net and he wasn't going to be pushed to the side and it went off his skate and in; so that's a good example for the rest of the younger guys on the team to take from a guy who is still doing it at that age."

Jagr, playing with Seguin, who shifted to center with Patrice Bergeron out with another concussion, was tied up with Bryce Salvador on a rush when Marchand's pass hit his left skate and went past Martin Brodeur; both Jagr and Brodeur products of the 1990 NHL draft.

It was the 680th goal of Jagr's Hall of Fame career and he noted he might not have wanted to score that way when he was 25, but will take what he can get now.

The crowd broke into a loud chant of "Ya-ger, Ya-ger" after he scored; the goal giving him nine points in his last eight games.

On a normal night, Rask would have been the story. He was sharp from the start and got help from a couple of posts in the first period in pitching his third shutout of the season

Rask, who sat out the last two games as backup Anton Khudobin played very well and won both (one a shutout), got in some work with goalie coach Bob Essenza and the work paid off. He was tested early as the Devils, still playing without the injured Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder) had 17 shots in the first period.

The Bruins (28-8-4) have allowed just two goals during their winning streak; but have yielded 87 shots (and two goals) in wins over Ottawa and New Jersey. Julien admits he's concerned.

The win kept Boston one point behind Montreal, which defeated Winnipeg, in the Northeast Division standing. The Bruins have a game in hand and visit Montreal on Saturday night.

The Devils, meanwhile, lost their fifth straight (0-2-3) as they try to stay alive in the chase for a playoff spot. The loss knocked New Jersey (15-13-9) into ninth place.

The Bruins notched their sixth straight win over the Devils and are 10-1 in the last 11 games against New Jersey.

"The guys did everything we asked them to do but score," said New Jersey coach Pete DeBoer, whose team was blanked for the first time this season. "You can't fault their effort or their execution in the game plan. That's a good team, tough building and I thought we played a heck of a road game."

David Clarkson had seven shots on goal and also hit a post.

The Bruins got their only power play at 7:05 of the second period, and this is where Jagr should really help. He stayed out for the entire two minutes, had one shot and made a couple of nifty passes.

NOTES: Jagr, talking after the morning skate, said, "I'm not 25 anymore. I don't think this team really needs it (a savior). They won the Cup two years ago, and when you look at their top guys, they're still here, so they know they can do it. For me, I wish I can somehow help the team to produce better and play better." ... Jagr was greeted by an ovation from the sparse crowd on hand to see the Bruins come out for the pre-game skate; and a bigger welcome coming out before the game -- and even-bigger one when he hit the ice for his first shift 1:16 into the game. ... Kaspars Daugavins, claimed off waivers from Ottawa last week, also made his Bruins debut, but newly acquired defenseman Wade Redden didn't. No word on whether he will Saturday night. ... Steve Sullivan, acquired by the Devils from Phoenix for a seventh-round pick, will join the team and debut Saturday against Toronto in Newark. He came up with New Jersey in 1995. ... Marc Savard, his career apparently over because of concussions, took to Twitter to welcome Jagr. "Jagr going to have huge night," he tweeted, adding, "Wish I could suit up with one of the greatest players of all time."
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