Columbus Blue Jackets won their 16th straight game on Tuesday night with a 3-1 win over Edmonton. Next, they take on the New York Rangers at home on Saturday night with a chance to tie the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins who hold the longest streak at 17 games. Today, we’ll take a look at how the clubs from two very different eras match-up statistically.
Following a 3-1 victory on Tuesday night, the Columbus Blue Jackets made NHL history winning their 16th straight game. The club now sits just one win behind the all-time record of 17 games held by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins.
With the win, the Blue Jackets now have a three-point lead in the Metropolitan Division holding a record of 27-5-4 (58 points). They’ll have a three-day layoff before putting their streak on the line at home versus the New York Rangers on Saturday night. Columbus won the first meeting 4-2 at home back on November 18th. These two clubs will meet twice in January, with another contest in New York on January 31st.
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Before delving into the statistical comparisons to the 92-93 Penguins, it’s important to note that we’re talking about two completely different eras in hockey. Goals were still being produced at a high-rate and goaltenders would be lucky to post a goals-against-average in the 2.50-3.00 range.
So, what’s the one thing that hasn’t changed over all that time? The objective of the sport. It isn’t about making sure you find the back of the net x amount of times, or limit the opposition to x amount of goals. The name of the game is simply outscoring your opponent.
2016-17 Columbus Blue Jackets vs. 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins
Team Comparison Chart
16-17 Blue Jackets
As we’d expect, the 92-93 Pens have both scored and allowed several more goals. Pittsburgh was scoring 5.65 GPG, while sacrificing 2.82 GPG. In comparison, the 16-17 Blue Jackets are scoring at a 4.00 GPG rate, while allowing just 1.69 GPG.
Otherwise, there’s not a major difference in terms of special teams. Pittsburgh averaged 1.24PP goals-per-game, whereas Columbus is scoring 0.94 power play goals per game. Those nine shorthanded tallies by the Pens tend to stand out, though. With five one-goal games during their 17 win streak, you’ve gotta imagine that one of those SH markers was an impactful difference maker.
The thing about having an extra 32 goals compared to the Blue Jackets, it creates an opportunity for an extra 64 assists for a total of 96 potential extra points up for grabs – although unassisted or single assist goals would obviously bring that number down a bit.
That might help explain how Super Mario was averaging three points/game for a total of 51 points.
If you compare to the top 7 scorers on each team, with Pittsburgh having played one extra game. The Pens totaled 192 points between seven skaters, whereas Columbus skaters have just 101 points.
The funny thing is, those incredible numbers that Goalie Bob is posting for the Blue Jackets is similarly comparable to how impressive Barrasso’s numbers were for that time. A 2.45GAA and .923 save percentage is god-like for 1992-93.
Still, Sergei Bobrovsky deserves a lot of credit for this impressive streak. Coming off a down year in 2015-16 in which it looked as though his job could be threatened by the likes of Joonas Korpisalo, the Russian netminder responded in a big way.
First, he helped lead his country at the World Cup as arguably the tournament’s top goaltender. Then managed to carry that over into the 2016-17 season where he now carries a record of 25-5-2 with a 1.92GAA and a .934 save percentage. If he keeps up the stellar play, he could be store for his second Vezina trophy (won his first back in 2011-12).
They might not have the explosive offensive output of 51 points from Mario Lemieux (absolutely bonkers by the way). But, there’s something to be said for the Columbus Blue Jackets impressive steak. They’ve done it at a time when the NHL holds the title of most parity among major North American sports leagues. Heading into Wednesday’s action, 13 games have a one-game win streak, another five clubs have two-game W/L streaks. The fact is, it’s difficult to string together even a few wins in a row, let alone 16.
Whether the Columbus Blue Jackets succeed in their quest to match the all-time record, hockey fans should take a moment to appreciate what this team has done. We’re talking about a club that disappointed in 2015-16 sitting in the NHL’s basement. Now, roughly nine months later, things have turned full circle as we look at a potential Stanley Cup contender.