TORONTO (AP)—Jaromir Jagr is on a tear heading into the Olympic break.
Jagr scored two power-play goals Friday night in a 4-2 victory at New York in the opener of the home-and-home series, and beat goalie Ed Belfour for two more one night later. Jagr leads the NHL in goals and points (88).
“I’ve been on some hot streak lately,” Jagr said. “Hopefully, I can play the same way in the Olympics, but hopefully I can play even better when I come back after the Olympics. I go to represent my country, but my job is to play good for the New York Rangers.”
With 1,397 career points, Jagr—who will play for the Czech Republic at the Turin Games—is one behind Jari Kurri for second place among European players.
It was the teams’ final game before the league shuts down for the Olympics.
Jagr scored his 39th by knocking a rebound in off Belfour’s skate at 12:15 of the first.
He scored his 40th at 7:45 of the third, beating Belfour with a shot between the legs after Toronto failed to clear the puck.
Jagr reached 40 goals for the first time since 2000-01. His career high is 62 for Pittsburgh in 1995-96.
If he wins the scoring title this year he’ll tie match former teammate Mario Lemieux with six scoring titles.
“He was my idol since I was 15-years old,” Jagr said. “I had a chance to see him every day and learn a lot from him. Like my first goal today, I learned that from Mario. He scored a lot of them like that.”
Toronto captain Mats Sundin played one of his better games of his subpar season, almost scoring on breakaway in the first. He assisted on Allison’s goal.
Sundin, who will play for Sweden in Turin, was looking forward to the Olympics.
“Who knows, it might be good for me,” Sundin said. “It’s fun to get a chance to represent your country.”
Sykora beat Belfour glove side with a shot at 5:51 of the second. Rucinsky gave New York a 4-0 lead by beating Belfour up high on the power play at 12:35 of the second.
McCabe’s shot from the point on the power play cut it to 4-1 with 33 seconds left in the period. It was McCabe’s career high-tying 17th goal, matching his total set in 2001-02.
Allison cut it to 4-2 at 2:44 of the third with a weak wrist that beat goalie Kevin Weekes.
McCabe needs one point to tie a career-high 53 points set 2003-04. … Weekes, who is from Toronto, made 28 saves. … Jagr turns 34 next week.