The 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins have the record for the most consecutive wins in NHL history. The likes of Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, and Ron Francis rattled off 17 straight victories that year, but that record is now in jeopardy.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have a 16-game winning streak as of Thursday afternoon, with an evening date in Washington, D.C. to play Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals. A win would cement their place in the history books and give them a chance to break the record entirely on Saturday at home against the New York Rangers.
The Capitals, however, plan to spoil the party.
According to Isabelle Khurshudyan, Washington forward Andre Burakovsky said “It’s going to be a really fun moment for us to end it.”
Burakovsky isn’t the only Washington play paying attention. Brooks Orpik said the entire team was watching the Blue Jackets 15th win against Edmonton in the dressing room after beating the Maple Leafs in overtime on Tuesday.
“As soon as our game was over last night, guys were checking to see if they won or night,” Orpik said, according to The Washington Post. “We had it on. If anyone says they weren’t [paying attention], they’re lying because we had it on in the changing room. As soon as we asked if they’d won or not, guys were like, ‘Oh, I don’t know, it said 2-1 on the scoreboard during the game.’ So, guys were aware of it.”
Forward T.J. Oshie downplayed breaking the streak, but only a little, mentioning that the entire team is definitely aware of the stakes.
“I think a lot of teams have wanted to break it along the way,” Oshie said. “So, we’re not going to be too focused about that. If the guys need that to motivate them, that’s fine. But I think right now, we’re getting our game going in a pretty positive direction, and we’re going to focus on that and hopefully that’ll be enough to break it.”
Head coach Barry Trotz is relishing the opportunity to end the Columbus fanfare.
“I think our guys are up to the challenge,” Trotz said. “This is a team that’s leading the league. . . . I think guys look at it a good — they like the competition. It’ll be something good pros look and go, ‘They’re a good team. So are we. Let’s see what happens.’ ”