By John Schweibacher
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The New Jersey Devils have gone just 2-3-0 since making their coaching change during the Christmas break, but the oldest Devil rang in the New Year by making NHL history.
Jaromir Jagr became the oldest player in NHL history to record a hat trick when he scored three goals in the Devils' 5-2 win over the Flyers Saturday night at Prudential center.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, at 42 years and 322 days, Jagr is more than a year older than Gordie Howe was at the time of his last NHL hat trick (41 years and 216 days on November 2, 1969 vs Pittsburgh), when he set the mark which stood until Saturday night.
Jagr's hat trick was the 15th of his NHL career, and Elias also notes that it came 23 years, 11 months and one day after his first three-goal game, which he posted for the Penguins against the Bruins on February 2, 1991. That topped another NHL record held by Howe, the longest gap between a player's first and last hat tricks. Howe's last NHL hat trick came 19 years and 264 days after his first one (February 11, 1950 at Boston).
Prior to Jagr's hat trick, Patrik Elias was the oldest Devils player with a three-goal game.
Here are the oldest players to record a hat trick for New Jersey, courtesy of the Player Game Finder at hockey-reference.com.
- Jaromir Jagr: 42 years, 322 days (1/3/15 vs. Phi)
- Peter Stastny: 35 years, 102 days (12/29/91 vs. Was)
- Patrik Elias: 34 years, 353 days (4/1/11 vs. Phi)
- Jamie Langenbrunner: 34 years, 162 days (1/2/10 at Min)
- Randy McKay: 33 years, 277 days (10/28/00 at Pit -- 4 goals)
New Jersey reached the 41-game mark of the season Saturday night. Their 35 points through the midway point are the club's sixth-lowest through 41 games in club history:
Devils' Fewest Points Through 41 Games:
- 1983-84: 9-30-2, 20 points
- 2010-11: 10-29-2, 22 points
- 1982-83: 8-25-8, 24 points
- 1985-86: 14-26-1, 29 points
- 1984-85: 14-23-4, 32 points
- 2014-15: 14-20-7, 35 points
Devils' Most Points Through 41 Games:
- 2009-10: 30-10-1 (61 points)
- 1999-00: 24-10-7 (55 points)
- 1997-98: 26-13-2 (54 points)
- Five seasons with 52 points
Carey Price, in the 400th game of his NHL career, recorded his 200th win in Montreal's 4-2 victory over New Jersey Friday night at Prudential Center. Price's nine career regular-season wins against the Devils are the second most by any goalie for the Canadiens against New Jersey:
- Patrick Roy: 12
- Carey Price: 9
- Brian Hayward: 5
- Jose Theodore: 4
- Rick Wamsley: 3
The Devils closed out 2014 with a 3-1 loss against the Red Wings in Detroit on New Year's Eve. New Jersey has now gone 2-11-1 at Joe Louis Arena since beating the Red Wings there in Games 1 and 2 of the 1995 Stanley Cup finals.
New Jersey went a combined 9-6-2 against the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena from 1982-83 through the 1993-94 season.
Joe Whitney scored the first goal of his career in his third NHL game in New Jersey's loss in Detroit. Two other prominent Devils scored their first-career NHL goals for New Jersey at Joe Louis Arena: John MacLean and Kirk Muller.
MacLean scored his first NHL goal on October 8, 1983 in New Jersey's 6-3 win over the Red Wings in Detroit against goalie Ed Mio.
Muller's first-career goal came just over one year later, on October 13, 1984, against goaltender Greg Stefan in a 4-1 loss at the Joe against the Red Wings.
The Devils beat the Penguins, 3-1, last Monday night in Newark. It was the team's 100th regular-season win vs. the Pens all time, their most against any NHL opponent.
Here are the teams that New Jersey has the most regular-season wins against:
- Pittsburgh: 100
- Philadelphia: 98
- NY Rangers: 85
- NY Islanders: 82
- Washington: 76
Plus: Mark Fraser -- Defenseman appeared in his first NHL game of the season Saturday, and first with New Jersey since December 8, 2011. He became the 26th player in Devils history to be re-acquired and see action with the team.
Minus: And then there were two -- Stephen Gionta suffered a broken hand in the win vs. Pittsburgh, leaving Andy Greene and Marek Zidlicky as the only Devils to appear in all 41 games so far this season.
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