The Blue Jackets beat the Wild in the battle of the streaks last night .
Yesterday’s matchup between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild was likely one of the most entertaining matchups the NHL will have all season. The only thing that could have made it more exciting was if the two teams were in the same division; but unfortunately, they are not even in the same conference. Both teams came into the game with record-chasing win streaks. The Minnesota Wild had won 12 straight and the Columbus Blue Jackets had won 14 straight. Someone was going to keep the chance to make NHL history alive.
The Columbus Blue Jackets won in 4-2 fashion with Cam Atkinson leading the way. The Blue Jackets opened up scoring in the 1st period with a goal from Atkinson and then continuing what was looking like a field day in the 2nd with 2 goals within 15 seconds of each other. Mikael Granlund finally opened up scoring with a goal from Jared Spurgeon and Mikko Koivu to make it 3-1. Seth Jones of Columbus scored to finish out the 2nd and Jason Zucker of Minnesota concluded the game’s scoring within the first minute of the 3rd period.
Columbus is now one of just 2 teams in NHL history to go undefeated in a calendar month. The first since the Pittsburgh Penguins went undefeated during March 2013. They are now 26-5-4 for a total of 56 points and are the best team in the NHL at the moment with 3 fewer games played than the second place Penguins. who have 55 points. Their win streak has been extended to 15 games.
I’m sure you’re wondering just as much as other fans and followers are as to what other records the Columbus Blue Jackets have broken or might make a run at now that they’ve kept the streak alive. So let’s take a look at what records they have broken and which to keep on the radar as the season continues into the new year.
1. (Potential) Most points in a season of 70 or more games: 132 points
With the NHL being around for 100 years, the length of the season surely has not been as long as it is now (82 games). In the 1976-77 season, the Montreal Canadiens managed to put up 132 points in a time where an NHL season consisted of 80 games with a roster consisting of Hall-of-Famers Guy Lafleur and Steve Shutt. The Habs went 60-8-12 (12 being ties and not overtime/shootout losses) in the pre-shootout era and at a time when the overtime period had been eliminated by the NHL due to war time restrictions. The way the NHL worked back then was both teams were awarded 1 point for ending a game where the score was tied after 60 minutes of regulation play until the 1983-84 season when overtime returned for the first time since 1942. As mentioned previously, the Columbus Blue Jackets are 26-5-4. The Canadiens set their record when there were 160 possible points in the season. Now there are 164 possible points for the Blue Jackets and they currently have 56 in 35 games played. On that track, that means they are averaging 1.6 points per game and would finish the season with 131 points. This will surely be the most intriguing record to keep an eye on.
2. (Broken) Most points in a 36 or fewer games: 52 points
Columbus now holds the record for most points in 36 or fewer games. This previous record of 52 points was set by the Ottawa Senators in the 1925-26 NHL season. The Blue Jackets now hold the record with 56 points and could increase the record in their next game (their 36th of the season).
3. (Potential) Most consecutive wins by a team: 17 wins
With only 2 more wins needed to tie, this record is certainly doable for the Blue Jackets. The Pittsburgh Penguins set this record during the 1992-93 season when they had Mario Lemieux and a youthful Jaromir Jagr on the ice. The Penguins went on to lose to the Islanders before the Eastern Conference Finals. Mario Lemieux missed 24 of 84 games after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease but still managed to lead the league in scoring with 69 goals and 91 assists for a total of 160 points. Had he played in all 84 games, he was on track to break Wayne Gretzky‘s record for points in a season (215) and goals in a season (92). At the pace Lemieux was scoring, he would have scored 97 goals and 225 points if he had played in every game. The Penguins finished their season with 119 points in 84 games.
4. (Potential) Most consecutive away game wins: 12 wins
Although their 10 straight wins on the road have not all come during their current overall win streak, just 2 more wins on the road and the Columbus Blue Jackets will have tied the record for consecutive wins on the road, a third will give them the new record. This record was set twice, once by the Detroit Red Wings in 2005-06 and again by the Minnesota Wild in 2014-15. The Blue Jackets’ next 3 opponents on the road are Washington, Carolina, and Tampa Bay.
5. (Potential) Longest Overall Undefeated Streak: 35 games
This is an unlikely record that could be broken as the current way the NHL works would require the Blue Jackets to win all these games. The Philadelphia Flyers set this record during the 1979-80 season when games could end in a tie. The Flyers won 25 and tied in 10. They Blue Jackets have already won 15 straight, I wouldn’t think 20 more is too much to ask.
The Blue Jackets continue play on Tuesday at home against the Oilers. However, be sure to watch the Centennial Classic today featuring the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs in an outdoor game at BMO Field and the annual Winter Classic tomorrow between the St. Louis Blues and the Chicago Blackhawks at Busch Stadium.