Blue Jackets Win 15th Straight, Stop Minnesota’s 12 Game Streak
At the beginning of the season, we’d bet that few people looking at the NHL schedule on New Year’s Eve would have thought that the Columbus at Minnesota game would be more than a matchup of two at best, average teams. However, the 19,307 in attendance at the game at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul and those watching on regional TV networks (would have been a nice one for national TV but whatever) got to witness a little history. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this was the first time in any major professional North American sport that two teams with winning streaks of 12 or more games have played each other. Columbus entered the game with a 14 game winning streak, while the Wild had won 12 in a row.
The game was a matchup of the two current top goalies in the NHL, with Sergei Bobrovski of the Blue Jackets and Devon Dubnyk of the Wild. Columbus’ Cam Atkinson got the scoring started with a goal in the first period, his first of two. Columbus built what turned out to be an insurmountable lead with two goals within 15 seconds of each other in the second period. Mikael Granlund got Minnesota back into it with a goal a couple of minutes later, but the Blue Jackets’ Seth Jones cancelled that out with Columbus’ final score at 17:35. A Jason Zucker goal 24 seconds into the third period sparked hope for the Wild, but the Blue Jackets shut down the Minnesotans the rest of the way for Columbus’ 15th straight victory. Bobrovski had 29 saves in his league leading 23rd win. The Blue Jackets improved their league best record to 26-5-4 (56 points) . Minnesota is one point behind Chicago in the Central Division race.
This 15th consecutive victory ties Columbus with the 1981-82 New York Islanders for the second longest winning streak in NHL history. A good omen for the Blue Jackets: the Islanders won the Stanley Cup that season. The longest winning streak in league history was by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins, who won 17 in a row.
The Blue Jackets will try to make it 16 straight wins on January 3rd when they host the Edmonton Oilers. Minnesota and Columbus have one game remaining against each other. The Blue Jackets will host the Wild on March 2nd. Minnesota is in action next on January 5th in San Jose.