Work in Sports
Jagr's pair beats Leafs, clinches berth
Posted: Thursday April 06, 2000 03:41 PM
Jagr, who returned from an injury layoff March 19, had two goals and assist to take sole possession of the NHL scoring lead as Pittsburgh beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 on Wednesday night.
The win guaranteed Pittsburgh a playoff spot for the 10th consecutive season, while the Leafs failed for the second game in a row to wrap up their first division title since 1962-63.
"I don't feel very good. My health is not at 100 percent," said Jagr, who missed 12 games because of surgery to remove a blood clot from his thigh, and another five with hamstring, thumb and upper back injuries.
"He's amazing. He's doing a lot of the little things," Matthew Barnaby said. "The points haven't really been there but he did great tonight."
The points have been there often enough to put Jagr atop the league with 95 points. He entered Wednesday's action tied with Florida's Pavel Bure, who has 93 points and has played in 11 more games than Jagr has.
Jagr turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 Penguins advantage after two periods. The winger ripped a shot from a bad angle past Curtis Joseph at 8:13 on the power play. He scored his second with 1:35 left when he one-timed a pass from Jan Hrdina at almost the same spot as his first.
"It's always tough coming into Toronto," Tugnutt said. "Jaromir stepped up and showed he's a great captain."
"We still have a couple games left to muck with some things," Leafs GM-coach Pat Quinn said. "I don't think we had a good line tonight."
The Leafs forwards weren't too concerned with backchecking, which led to several scoring opportunities for Pittsburgh.
"I wish we could put it all together," Thomas said. "We played in their end an awful lot but sometimes we stayed out too long and didn't have enough to skate back. I don't think we were too smart out there regarding our defensive positioning."
Lang gave the Penguins a two-goal cushion 1:14 into the third when he turned in Jagr's pass in front of the net.
The Leafs had an excellent opportunity to get back into the game with a two-man advantage for 1:46 but were unable to capitalize.
The Leafs, who are five points ahead of the Ottawa Senators in the Northeast Division, need just one more point in their remaining two games to clinch one of the top three seeds in the Eastern Conference.
The Leafs also remain three points behind the Washington Capitals for second place in the conference.