Jaromir Jagr continued to inch toward the 700 goal mark and climb the NHL's all-time goal-scoring list when he scored in the first period of New Jersey's 4-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.
The goal, which was Jagr's 14th of the season, was the 695th of his career and moved him into sole possession of seventh place in league history, passing Hall of Famer Mark Messier.
The only players that remain ahead of Jagr are Wayne Gretzky (894), Gordie Howe (801), Brett Hull (741), Marcel Dionne (731), Phil Esposito (717) and Mike Gartner (708).
Depending on how much longer he decides to play beyond this season (he is 41, after all), Esposito and Gartner are certainly well within reach. Had he not missed three years while playing in Russia and what amounted to two full seasons because of lockouts he probably would have already been ahead of everybody on the list except for Gretzky and Howe, and probably had a legitimate chance to finish his career second on the all-time list.
What he's doing this season for the Devils is nothing short of spectacular given his age, and proving that his goal-less drought in last year's playoffs as a member of the Boston Bruins was one gigantic fluke. He may not have the speed he did earlier in his career, but he's still impossible to move off of the puck and still has a knack for finding the open spots in the middle of the ice.
His 14 goals are already tied for the 20th best goal-scoring season in league history for a player over the age of 40, and if he stays healthy his level of play puts him on a pace for around 23 goals, a level that only nine players in the history of the league have reached over the age of 40. (Gordie Howe did it three times, Teemu Selanne has done it twice, John Bucyk, Messier, Dean Prentice and Mark Recchi each did it once).