NHL Wrap: Jagr scores 119th career game-winner

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NHL Wrap: Jagr scores 119th career game-winner

NEWARK, N.J. -- Jaromir Jagr became the NHL's leader in game-winning goals, scoring on a second-period breakaway to give the New Jersey Devils a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.

The 684th goal of Jagr's 20-year NHL career, gave him 119 game-winners, putting him one ahead of Hall of Famer Phil Esposito.

Adam Henrique also scored and Martin Brodeur made 16 saves as the Devils won consecutive games for the first time this season and ended Tampa Bay's three-game winning streak.

Steven Stamkos, who had three goals and four assists last week, scored a power-play goal for Tampa Bay, which had won 5 of 6 in posting the best record in the Eastern Conference.

New Jersey, which lost its first seven games of the season, rallied late to beat Boston on Saturday for its second win.

Jagr's third goal of the season came midway through the period when he stripped Martin St. Louis at the Devils' blue line and broke in alone on Ben Bishop, easily the deking the goaltender and scoring into the net (see full recap).

Rangers spoil Vanek's Islanders debut
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Benoit Pouliot and Ryan McDonagh scored third-period goals, and the New York Rangers rallied for a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.

Trailing 2-1 after two periods, McDonagh got the Rangers even at 4:59 with their second power-play goal of the night. Pouliot netted the game-winner off a pass from Carl Hagelin with 6:14 left. Cam Talbot, subbing for No. 1 goalie Henrik Lundqvist, made 22 saves for his second win. He played for the third time in four games.

McDonagh's goal was set up by a penalty for too many men on the ice that had Islanders coach Jack Capuano screaming at the officials.

Cal Clutterbuck and Peter Regin had rallied the Islanders (4-5-3) in the second period after the Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the first. Evgeni Nabokov made 21 saves.

The Rangers shut down John Tavares, Frans Nielsen and newcomer Thomas Vanek, who made his Islanders debut two days after he was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres.

Chris Kreider scored in the first period for the Rangers, who rebounded after dropping their home opener to Montreal on Monday. The Rangers (4-7) have played all but one game on the road. Talbot made the goals stand up one night after Lundqvist lost 2-0 (see full recap).

Price helps Canadiens squeak past Stars
MONTREAL -- Rene Bourque scored in the second period and Carey Price made 26 saves and the Montreal Canadiens downed the Dallas Stars 2-1 on Tuesday night.

Michael Bournival also scored for Montreal (8-5-0), which has won three of its past four games.

Cody Eakin scored for Dallas (5-6-1), which remained last in the Central Division.

Dallas outshot the Canadiens 27-24.

Both teams had played the night before, with Montreal winning 2-0 in New York and the Stars taking a 4-3 decision in coach Lindy Ruff's return to Buffalo (see full recap).

Wayne Gretzky defends Connor McDavid's outburst over Brandon Manning

Wayne Gretzky defends Connor McDavid's outburst over Brandon Manning

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As the primary target of opponents over his Hall of Fame career, Wayne Gretzky can certainly empathize with the frustration of Oilers star Connor McDavid.

McDavid and Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning jostled all evening long in a 6-5 Edmonton loss. McDavid denounced the tactics of his opponent after the game, claiming Manning intentionally injured him last season; McDavid missed 37 games with a broken collarbone.

"I guess we can put the whole 'if he did it' thing to rest because what he said out there kind of confirmed that," said McDavid, who taunted Manning after scoring the second goal in the Oilers' loss.

"I think anybody who knows me or who has played with or against me along the road here, knows that I am not that kind of player," Manning said, according to a statement released by the Flyers. "I am not out there intentionally trying to hurt people. I'm a guy who plays the game hard and I take pride in that."

Gretzky didn't mind seeing that fire in McDavid, saying competitiveness is part of what makes the great ones great. And he said the targeting comes with the territory of being a superstar. It was something he and Mario Lemieux dealt with, too.

"And Connor, he's going to get tested every night, but this is not new for him," Gretzky said Friday at the NHL board of governors meetings. "He's been tested since he was a kid and then playing junior hockey and now in the NHL and he's always responded and done his part."

Michael Raffl's power moves impressing Flyers, adding another element to top line

Michael Raffl's power moves impressing Flyers, adding another element to top line

He did it last Sunday in Nashville.

And he did it again Thursday night against Edmonton.

Michael Raffl displayed power and speed to send the Flyers to their seventh straight victory and longest winning streak since 2011 Thursday with a 6-5 win over the Oilers.

"Raf has this stutter step that's undercover speedy," goalie Steve Mason said. "He used it in Nashville to get a big goal and then here tonight.

"It looks like he's going to stop fully up, but he finds another gear and he really adds another element to that line that brings physical play.

"He has that sneaky talent, too, that can make you pay."

Raffl received a bank pass off the wall from Jakub Voracek, stutter stepped and then blew by Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom, protecting the puck along the way before flipping it over goalie Jonas Gustavsson for the game-winning marker with 1:29 left in the game.

It was his sixth goal of the season and his second game-winner in three games.

"Jakey has been hard on me for three years now," Raffl said, referring to Voracek's pass, "and it's actually the first time it worked out.

"He wants me to make that play all the time. He's been hard on me. I threw a little fake in there, got around their D-man and chipped it up high."

Voracek, who tied a career high with four points (one goal, three assists) said after the game his pass was not as perfect as it appeared on tape, as it didn't hit Raffl in stride.

"I think we should use it a little bit more to be honest," Voracek said, "because if their D wants to have a gap on that, you know you put it off the boards, it's tough to handle for the defenseman. [Raffl] had to slow down a little bit, so next time I've got to put it better."

Juggling his lines in an attempt to find chemistry, Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol moved Raffl up from the third line to the top line with Voracek and captain Claude Giroux on Nov. 27. Coincidentally, that was the start of this seven-game winning streak.

On Thursday night, Raffl showcased the reasoning behind the move to the top line, a spot he's familiar with, having played with Giroux and Voracek in seasons' past.

"He's good from coming off either way as he enters the zone," Hakstol said. "He's got the ability to take it to the net. 

"Obviously at a critical time of the hockey game. But, that's Raffl when he's at his best. He's a power forward that can do those type of things offensively."

In his fourth season with the Flyers, the 28-year-old doesn't possess jaw-dropping skill. He's better suited for a third-line role, but drives play at 5-on-5 and is strong on the puck to move up into the top six. His style complements Giroux and Voracek's game well.

"[Raffl] complains a lot on the bench," Giroux quipped. "Nah, he was fired up there in the third. He is so strong on the puck. That's a big goal for us. He's been playing some great hockey right now for us. I think me and Jake are lucky to play with him right now."

"He does every little thing right," Voracek said. "He wins the battles. He wins so many puck battles in the corners and on the boards and gives me and G a lot of space to work with. He knows what to do to have success with us and he's been doing that."

Against the Oilers, Raffl was one of two European free agents the Flyers found to contribute to their win, with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare slowing down Connor McDavid.

It's been an avenue the Flyers have found some success in recent years. Raffl was a Paul Holmgren signing, while general manager Ron Hextall plucked Bellemare from the SHL.

"Since we signed him, I think he surprised everyone," Voracek said of Raffl. "He's got a lot of talent. He's a strong guy on the puck. He's skating well. He's got a great shot.

"I think he's one of the good players."

The Flyers described Raffl as a sneaky talent, someone who may not demand the respect from defensemen but has the ability to surprise and make them pay for playing lax against him.

But it's really simpler than that, according to Raffl.

"Just puck possession," he said. "Just focus on being the first on forecheck, digging out pucks. It's not a fun job to do, but somebody has to do it.

"They're two great players with the puck, I try to dig it out and get it to them and get in an open area and they'll find me eventually."

And they found him Thursday night when it mattered most.