Ice hockey king Jagr wins third straight scoring title

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The Independent Online

Jaromir Jagr missed nearly a quarter of the season and still captured his third straight scoring title.

Jagr, sidelined by a variety of ailments - most seriously by an injured thigh - wrapped up the Art Ross Trophy on Sunday, the last day of the NHL season. Jagr had 96 points, playing in 63 of the Penguins' 82 games.

The Pittsburgh star, who has four career scoring titles, became the first to win three in a row since Wayne Gretzky took seven straight from 1980-81 to 1986-87 with Edmonton.

It's the first time since 1967-68, in full NHL seasons, that the scoring leader has not reached 100 points.

Florida's Pavel Bure scored his league-leading 58th goal Sunday, but couldn't catch Jagr. Bure tallied 94 points in 74 games.

Bure, who had knee surgery prior to this season, won the Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy awarded to the top goal scorer.

"After having the surgery, I'm amazed I wound up with (so many) goals," Bure said. "Every season is different. This year, things are going well. Next year, who knows? I may wind up with 20 goals."

Philadelphia's Mark Recchi took the assists title, setting up 63 Flyers goals, including their final one in Sunday's 4-1 victory over the New York Rangers.

Recchi rebounded from last season when illness and injury limited him to 53 points.

Rookie teammate Brian Boucher, tabbed as Philadelphia's playoff goalie over veteran John Vanbiesbrouck, recorded a 1.91 goals-against-average to lead the NHL. Boucher, who played in 35 games, became the first rookie since the 1950-51 season to appear in at least 25 games and have an average under two goals.

"It's exciting," Boucher said. "It's a team stat and I think the guys realized in these last couple of games, because they played real hard for me.

"Fifty years is a long time and you only get one shot at being a rookie."

The St. Louis Blues, winners of the Presidents' Trophy with a league-high 114 points, also captured the Williams Jennings Trophy after allowing a league-low 165 goals. Roman Turek yielded 129 in 69 games and won 42 times.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Chris Pronger had the top plus-minus number at plus-52. Chris Chelios of Detroit was second at plus-48. Pronger also won the award two seasons ago.

Chelios had some help as the Red Wings scored 278 times, the most in the NHL.

The 16-team playof, champions of the Northeast Division, will take on Ottawa, the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. In the West, St. Louis will play host to San Jose. The Sharks missed a chance to jump over the Edmonton Oilers into seventh place by losing to Vancouver on Sunday night.

The Oilers also open up Wednesday at Dallas against the No. 2 seed and defending Stanley Cup champion Stars.

On Thursday, Philadelphia, the East's top seed, will play Buffalo. No. 2 Washington, the Southeast Division winner, is home for one game against Pittsburgh, before hitting the road for Games 2 and 3 in a scheduling quirk. The fourth and fifth games will be played at the MCI Center.

The Florida Panthers travel to New Jersey to take on the Devils in the other Eastern Conference series.

Colorado, the third seed in the West, welcomes the sixth-seeded Phoenix Coyotes, and the Los Angeles Kings travel to Detroit to play the Red Wings, who own the fourth seed.

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