ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Jaromir Jagr is no stranger to game-winning goals. Only three players in NHL history have more.
Jagr’s power-play goal with 1:51 left in overtime gave the New York Rangers a 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night. It was his 104th game-winner, tying teammate Brendan Shanahan for fourth on the career list behind Gordie Howe (121), Phil Esposito (118) and Brett Hull (110).
Last season, Jagr broke franchise records held by all three members of the Rangers’ famed GAG (goal-a-game) line. He shattered Jean Ratelle’s single-season mark for points with 123, eclipsed Vic Hadfield’s record for power-play goals with 24, and topped Rod Gilbert’s standard for assists by a right wing with 69.
“Jaromir is in great company, and we’re in great company having him and Shanahan as teammates,” goaltender Kevin Weekes said. “Those guys continue to do it every day and every night. They want to continue playing not for any other reason than they love to play. Obviously, those guys have made enough money three and four times over. So that says a lot about the kind of people they are.”
Shanahan had a goal and two assists for the Rangers, who also got goals from Blair Betts and Petr Prucha while improving their record to 6-6-0. Last season, they started 6-3-3 and made the playoffs for the first time since 1997 before getting swept by New Jersey in the first round.
“There is a lot of pressure on the team,” said Jagr, who finished runner-up to Joe Thornton for the league scoring title last season. “Everybody thinks we have a lot better team than we had last year, and we’re still at .500. We have a lot better players than our record shows. Hopefully, this will give us confidence, but we don’t want to be overconfident.”
Weekes made 30 saves in his second start of the season. He allowed seven goals on 32 shots in his first start, losing 7-4 to Buffalo on Oct. 14.
The Ducks (9-0-4) are one of two teams that has yet to lose in regulation, along with Buffalo (10-0-1). By earning a point in the standings for the 13th straight game, they broke the previous club record set during the 1996-97 season. They are the first team to record at least one point in the first 13 games of a season since the 1994-95 Pittsburgh Penguins.
“We came out of a game tonight where we didn’t play well and still got a point,” captain Scott Niedermayer said. “Our challenge right now is to realize that we haven’t been at the top of our game lately. We have to get back to doing everything we can to stay focused on what we have to do as a team when we’re playing our best.”
Jagr scored his fourth goal of the season and 595th of his career moments after Anaheim defenseman Francois Beauchemin got a roughing penalty for punching Aaron Ward in the face in front of the Rangers’ net. Jagr beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere high to the glove side with a one-timer from the right circle after defenseman Michal Rozsival faked a long slap shot and fed it to the Rangers’ captain.
“If he shot it, I would have killed him because I was open,” Jagr said with a laugh.
The Ducks, who had only five shots on net in the second period, capitalized on two sloppy turnovers by defenseman Marek Malik deep in the Rangers’ end to grab a 3-2 lead at 12:59 of the period thanks to goals by Pronger and Getzlaf.
But New York pulled even with 15:13 left in regulation, as Prucha converted a rebound after Matt Cullen tried to stuff it past Giguere in the crease.
“It’s nice to see your team rally around any individual who has a tough set of circumstances, and we did that,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said, referring to Malik.
The Rangers, 0-for-9 on the power play in Monday’s 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, took a 2-1 lead while Anaheim’s Andy McDonald was serving a tripping penalty. Michael Nylander’s wide shot caromed off the end boards and Jagr nudged the puck into the crease before Shanahan backhanded it into the net.
The goal was Shanahan’s 11th this season and 609th of his career, surpassing Dino Ciccarelli for 13th place on the career list and putting him within one of Bobby Hull’s total.
This is the eighth time the Rangers have played back-to-back games in Anaheim and Los Angeles, and the first time since Dec. 14-15, 2000. They have never swept both games. … It was the first meeting between the teams since Oct. 28, 2003, at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers had not played in Anaheim since Feb. 21, 2003.