The Blue Jackets’ streak is over, and if past history is any indication, the win streak doesn’t necessarily mean playoff success is coming for Columbus. Take a look at several of the longest winning streaks in NHL history and the playoff outcomes that followed.
So, the streak is over.
With a 5-0 defeat at the hands of the Washington Capitals, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ remarkable winning streak that spanned 16 games, more than five weeks and continued on through from one year to the next has come to a close.
In the short-term, the win streak is one of the more remarkable stories of the season. It gripped the league, made scoreboard watching a necessity well before the playoff races are even reaching their peak and had NBC ready to broadcast the Blue Jackets’ chase for the all-time mark if they could have tied the 1992-93 Penguins by picking up a 17th win against the Capitals. Beyond that, it vaulted the Blue Jackets into the Stanley Cup conversation. Not just facetiously, either. Oddsmakers started putting Columbus at the top, possession metrics indicated the Blue Jackets were for real and there was starting to be that almost team-of-destiny feel to the winning streak.
However, the post-season chapter of the Blue Jackets’ campaign hasn’t yet been written, and that could be what truly defines the 2016-17 season when all is said and done. This is a franchise that has never won a post-season round and has two playoff victories to their name. Does the regular season winning streak equal success, though?
Here are the longest winning streaks in league history and the end results for the respective clubs:
Pittsburgh Penguins, 1992-93 — Win Streak: 17
The Penguins’ record-setting streak started on March 9 and continued on through to the final game of the campaign when Pittsburgh’s run was finally stopped thanks to a 6-6 tie in an outing against the New Jersey Devils. There was no happy ending to the streak, though, as the Penguins chase for a third-consecutive Stanley Cup was stopped in the second round against the very same Devils club that halted the streak. The Penguins were knocked out in five games. Result: Second-round playoff exit.
Pittsburgh Penguins, 2012-13 — Win Streak: 15
The Penguins come in second on this list to the Penguins, because that’s what happens when you have Mario Lemeiux, Jaromir Jagr, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin play for the same organization. The 2012-13 Penguins squad made better on their run than the team two decades earlier, but there was still no payoff. Pittsburgh was ousted in the Eastern Conference final by the Boston Bruins — rather unceremoniously, too, dropping the round 4-0. Result: Lost in Conference Final.
New York Islanders, 1981-82 — Win Streak: 15
The first success story on the list is the dynastic Islanders, because everything New York turned touched to gold during the early ‘80s. After knocking out the Rangers in the second round with a victory in Game 6, the Islanders went on to win each of their next eight games, sweeping the Quebec Nordiques in the Conference Final before downing the Canucks in four-straight for the Stanley Cup. Result: Stanley Cup champions.
Washington Capitals, 2009-10 — Win Streak: 14
The run-and-gun Capitals were one of the most exciting teams of the post-lockout era, and the 2009-10 club may have been the height of their performance. The Capitals blasted their way to a league-best 318 goals and the Presidents’ Trophy with 121 points, but no one could have expected what would happen in the first round against Montreal. Canadiens netminder Jaroslav Halak stood on his head and stole the series. Result: First-round playoff exit.
Boston Bruins, 1929-30 — Win Streak: 14
It was an entirely different era when one dominant player could rule the day, and the Bruins had their choice of stars with the likes of Dit Clapper and Eddie Shore on the roster. But a lengthy winning streak — and a mere five losses in the entire season — didn’t mean all that much in a fast-paced post-season that had little room for error. The Bruins got by the Montreal Maroons in five games, but the lifelong rival Canadiens proved to be too much in the best-of-three Stanley Cup final. Result: Lost in Stanley Cup final.
Boston Bruins, 1970-71 — Win Streak: 13
Led by Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito, the Bruins actually had two double-digit win streaks during the campaign, but the 13-game streak was the height of their success. Just like the 14-game win streak from the earliest days of the franchise, it would be the Canadiens who would foil the Bruins’ plans to parade with the Cup. Result: First-round playoff exit.
Philadelphia Flyers, 1985-86 — Win Streak: 13
The Flyers were a year removed from losing in the Stanley Cup final and out for revenge on the NHL when they ripped off a 13-game tear beginning in October 1985. The winning ways would come just a touch too soon, though, as the Flyers would flame out against the New York Rangers as soon as the post-season rolled around. Result: First-round playoff exit.
New Jersey Devils, 2000-01 — Win Streak: 13
During the heyday of Devils hockey when the goals were sparse and the excitement was sometimes sparser, New Jersey ramped up for the post-season by rattling off 13 wins in a row. For all the knocks on the Devils’ style of play during this time, the streak had some big scores, including a 7-3 victory and 6-5 overtime win. Martin Brodeur met his match in the final, though, when squaring off against Patrick Roy. Result: Lost in Stanley Cup final.
Florida Panthers, 2015-16 — Win Streak: 12
The feel-good story of the past season, but the wheels came off in the playoffs and this season has been somewhat of a disaster away from the rink. Result: First-round playoff exit.
Chicago Blackhawks, 2015-16 — Win Streak: 12
Had everyone thinking that a repeat could maybe be in the cards and almost pulled off more playoff magic before being stopped by the rival St. Louis Blues. Result: First-round playoff exit.
Boston Bruins, 2013-14 — Win Streak: 12
Would anyone be surprised to learn that the third time the Bruins land on this list also marks the third time a season with a long regular season win streak ended with a playoff loss to the Canadiens? Because for the third time, a season with a long regular season win streak ended with a playoff loss to the Canadiens. Result: Second-round playoff exit.
Pittsburgh Penguins, 2010-11 — Win Streak: 12
Two years removed from winning the Stanley Cup and primed to challenge for another title, the Penguins blew a 3-1 series lead when Dwayne Roloson stole Game 7 for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Result: First-round playoff exit.
Colorado Avalanche, 1998-99 — Win Streak: 12
Bob Hartley’s first year behind the Avalanche bench saw Colorado building towards something. The season would end with the first of two straight Western Conference final losses, but Hartley’s Avalanche would win the Stanley Cup by 2000-01. Result: Lost in Conference Final.
Montreal Canadiens, 1967-68 — Win Streak: 12
Choose any Canadiens season from 1955-56 to 1978-79 and you have an above 50 percent chance at selecting a championship team. This is one of those clubs, and only the second team on this list to turn a 12-plus game win streak into a Stanley Cup come season’s end. Result: Stanley Cup champions.
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