For the first time in the 17-year history of the franchise, the Columbus Blue Jackets were the talk of the NHL. When you go an entire month only winning hockey games, people generally pay more attention to you. The Jackets went on the unlikeliest of runs, finishing one win shy of the NHL’s longest win-streak (17 games) before falling to the Washington Capitals on Thursday.
Whether you’re in the camp that thinks this win streak was a statistical aberration, or an actual announcement that the Blue Jackets are for real, it is worth noting that, after all those wins, Columbus still only has a three-point lead in the Metropolitan Division. A historical win-streak doesn’t count for much when you play in a historically stacked division. Even the most optimistic of Blue Jackets fans have to temper their expectations when it comes to the playoffs, because knocking off the likes of Pittsburgh, Washington, or New York in seven games could prove even tougher than winning 16 straight in the regular season.
As for the 1992-93 Penguins, it looks like their record will be safe for at least another month. The next longest streak in the NHL currently belongs to the Vancouver Canucks, with a measly five in a row. But someday that record has to fall, right? Let’s look at the odds.
NHL Win-Streak Odds
Odds any team does better than Columbus’ 16-game win streak this year: 200/1
So many things had to go right for the Blue Jackets to go on the run that they did: shooting and power play percentages well above the league norm; not losing any players to injury; coming out on the right side of three-on-three OT and shootouts three times. But the biggest factor in their run was the outstanding play of goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who started 14 of the 16 wins and has carried the team with a 9.30 save percentage on the year.
When you recognize that the season’s second-longest win-streak (Minnesota Wild, 12 wins) was also the result of outstanding net play by Devan Dubnyk, it becomes pretty clear that topping 16 wins will require a goalie to play out of his mind. And since NHL teams are always looking to rest starters, even that may not be enough. All in all, the Jackets’ run is safe.
O/U on when Pittsburgh’s record 17-game win streak is surpassed: 2028
If you think that number is set way too far in the future, don’t forget, the NHL will have like three lockouts between now and then.
Latest Stanley Cup Futures (Top 10):
- Chicago Blackhawks: 7/1
- Pittsburgh Penguins: 8/1
- Minnesota Wild: 9/1
- Columbus Blue Jackets: 10/1
- New York Rangers: 10/1
- Washington Capitals: 10/1
- Montreal Canadiens: 12/1
- San Jose Sharks: 14/1
- St Louis Blues: 14/1
- Anaheim Ducks: 18/1
Photo credit: Lisa Gansky from New York, NY, USA (IMG_6516) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons