15 Most Impressive Streaks In NHL History
Tonight the Detroit Red Wings take on the Nashville Predators at Joe Louis Arena, where the Preds will try to do something no team has been able to do since November 3, 2011: beat the Wings at home. In fact, this past Tuesday, when Detroit beat the Dallas Stars 3-1, they extended their home winning streak to 21 games—a new record.
Just how impressive is a 21-game home winning streak? Well, the record broken this week by the Red Wings was set by the Boston Bruins…82 years ago. So yeah, 21 straight home wins is kind of a big deal.
In celebration of this achievement, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some other famous and infamous NHL streaks. But unlike most lists, where you move from the least awesome to the most awesome, for today’s look at the NHL’s longest streaks we’ll be moving from the most impressive to the most pathetic.
Still, while losing streaks are pathetic, they are strangely impressive. So maybe the order of this list isn’t that unusual after all.
In any case, on with the show…
The New York Islanders won 4 Stanley Cups in a row from 1980 to 1984, and made it back to the finals in 1985—a rematch against the Oilers. That gave them a record 19 consecutive playoff series wins. To beat that, a team will have to win 5 cups in a row, which won’t be easy in the salary cap era.
15. Most Consecutive Playoff Series Wins
The record for consecutive games won belongs to the 1992-93 Lemieux-Jagr Pittsburgh Penguins, who won an astounding 17 straight games. The previous record had been 15 games, which was not-surprisingly set by the 1982 New York Islanders. And before that, the 1929-30 Boston Bruins—the team the Red Wings just beat out for most consecutive home wins—won 14 in a row.
14. Longest Winning Streak
The Montreal Canadiens won 5 straight Stanley Cups from 1956 to 1960.
Now, if you recall, for this list we’re moving from most impressive to most pathetic. So if you’ve been paying attention, you might be outraged by the fact that I am saying winning 5 straight Stanley Cups is less impressive than winning 4 straight.
How can this be?
Well, the 5 straight Cups won by Montreal came before the expansion era. So basically, they were the best of only 6 teams for 5 years in a row.
This is not to say that those Canadiens teams weren’t great. It’s just that, given the era, this is basically like the Detroit Red Wings winning the Central Division 5 years in a row—impressive, but not out of this world.
So in my opinion, the two teams that won 4 cups in a row—the 1976-79 Canadiens, the 80-83 Islanders—those teams are more impressive. And so that’s why I started the list off with the most consecutive playoff series victories.
13. Consecutive Stanley Cups
The Flyers may have been coming off their Broad Street Bullies years in 1979-80, but they were still an excellent team. At one point they went 35 games without losing (25 wins, 10 ties) en route to an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals (which they lost) against the New York Islanders.
12. Longest Undefeated Streak
The Boston Bruins had an absolutely incredible run of non-sucking from 1968 until 1996, making the playoffs for 29 straight seasons.
The Blackhawks and Blues have come closest to tying this record, with 28 (1970-1997) and 25 (1980-2004) consecutive playoff appearances respectively.
Meanwhile, the Detroit Red Wings have the longest active streak at 20 years. Let’s see if they can keep it up for another 10.
11. Consecutive Post-Season Appearances
The Red Wings were the top team in the NHL in 2005-06, finishing with 124 points. Along the way they set the record for consecutive road games won with 12.
However, I’m sure they would have traded every single one of those road wins for just 2 more wins in the first round of the playoffs. Because, as you may recall, they were upset by the Cinderella Edmonton Oilers.
10. Road Winning Streak
The longest road undefeated streak belongs to the 1974-75 Montreal Canadiens. That team—which was on the cusp of greatness (see #8)—played 23 road games without suffering a loss, winning 14 and tying 9.
9. Longest Road Undefeated Streak
The 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens was won of the greatest teams of all time. They played an astounding 34 straight games at the Forum without losing, notching 28 victories and only 6 ties. Hell, the team only lost 1 game at home all season. Now that’s a home ice advantage.
Of course, they also lost only 7 times on the road. (Final record: 60-8-12, 132 points.)
8. Longest Home Undefeated Streak
Uh oh. Now we’re heading into depressing territory with the streaks of infamy.
Coming in at #7 are the 2003-04 Penguins, who lost 14 straight home games en route to an NHL-worst 23-win, 58 point season.
But at least they got the #1 pick in the 2004 NHL Draft, with which they selected some dude named Evgeni Malkin.
7. Longest Home Losing Streak
The poor Florida Panthers. With the help of some lucky rats, they managed to make a Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1995. But now they’ve gone 10 straight years without making the playoffs.
Their last appearance was a first-round sweep at the hands of eventual Cup champs New Jersey back in 2000.
6. Post-Season Appearance Drought
The record for most consecutive home games without a W belongs to two teams: the 1995-96 Senators, and the expansion 1999-00 Thrashers. Both went 17 home games without a win. Ouch.
5. Longest Home Winless Streak
Amazingly, the longest road winless streak is the same as the longest road losing streak. That is a feat that could only have been accomplished by one of the worst teams in the history of the NHL: the expansion 1992-93 Ottawa Senators.
Those guys lost 38 straight road games. Three. Eight. And they came within just one game of going winless on the road for the season.
That’s right, the 92-93 Senators were 1-41-0 on the road. Of course, they were also putrid at home, going just 9-29-4, for a total of just 10 wins and 24 points. The season featured winless streaks of 14, 15, and 21 games. And the 14-game streak consisted entirely of losses. (They were just a hair worse that the Sharks that year, who managed to eek out 11 wins and secure their own spot on this list.)
So who gave up that one road victory?
The playoff-bound New York Islanders. It was Ottawa’s third-last road game of the season.
4. Longest Road Losing & Winless Streaks
The longest winless streak stands at 30 games, and was set by the 1980-81 Winnipeg Jets—one of only two teams worse than the 1992-93 Senators and Sharks.
3. Longest Winless Streak
Interestingly, the longest losing streak in NHL history stands at 17 games, which is the same as the longest winning streak.
The record is shared by the 1974-75 Washington Capitals and the 1992-93 San Jose Sharks.
That Caps team was worst in NHL history, racking up just 8 wins all season. Though, to the discredit of the 1992-93 Sharks and Senators, they did play two more games (82) than the 1974-75 Caps (80).
2. Longest Losing Streak
From 1986 to 2011, the Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes have not won a single playoff series.
Oh sure, they’ve made the playoffs during the last 23 years—12 times, or 52% of the time. They just haven’t won.
This stretch of playoff futility includes a heartbreaking game 7 loss to the Red Wings in 2010, as well as an even more heartbreaking game 7 loss to the Blues in 1999—a series they led 3-1.
Will this streak ever end?