For the first half of the season, it seemed like every goal that the New Jersey Devils scored went through Jaromir Jagr. Now, the Devils need to find ways to score without him.
Since his three-point game against the Washington Capitals on December 21, Jagr has one assist and no goals in the last six games. He is also a -1 in that time. There is one glaring fact that coincides with his recent drought: he is currently one point away from tying his mentor Mario Lemieux on the all-time points list for his career. Lemieux was the same guy who watched Jagr grow up in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization. He is the reason why Jagr has lasted in the NHL for as long as he did.
So is the fact that he is about to go past his mentor getting into his head? You couldn’t blame him if it did, but it doesn’t seem like that is the cause for the slump. To be honest, Jagr’s scoring has been down for over a month. That fact hasn’t been very obvious with the emergence of Dainius Zubrus on his line in December. I understand that only scoring four goals isn’t exactly “emerging” for many, but it is for Zubrus.
After a huge November in which he scored eight goals in the month, Jagr only scored two in December. He was still the Devils’ best skater as he was great on the forecheck and made great passes to help teammates’ scoring chances, but he needs to put the puck in the back of the net.
Jagr needs two points, one to tie Lemieux and one to pass him, to never have to hear about it again. Then, he can focus on helping the Devils continue to contend in the Metropolitan Division. He does not seem like the kind of player that lets things like records and the players he is passing get in his head, but this one may be different. If he is pressing to pass Lemieux, he needs to refocus on the game at hand. The Devils need all the points they can get.