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Blue Jackets not getting caught up in streak

Players keeping even keel, going for 16th straight win against Oilers on Tuesday

by Craig Merz / Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets are trying to not get caught up in their 15-game winning streak and keep everything in perspective.

The streak has put Columbus in rarified air, having not lost since Nov. 26 and surpassing its previous record of 10 straight wins.

The Blue Jackets are 26-5-4 (56 points), atop the NHL standings this late in a season for the first time in their history. The national and local media attention on them has been unprecedented. 

Center William Karlsson said the biggest challenge during the streak has been to not get carried away.

"It's a cliche, but we really do take it game by game," he said. "We've been very disciplined with that. We have a good coach who's done a great job with that too."

That coach is John Tortorella, who said the winning streak is just part of the process of earning respect for a young team that has made the Stanley Cup Playoffs twice (2009 and 2014) since entering the NHL in 2000-01.

"To get true respect, it's not 35, 40 games," he said. "It's going through a season, hopefully get in a playoff and do the real stuff. That's how you earn respect in the League. It's going through playoff rounds, not just a streak or some wins in the regular season."

Video: CBJ@MIN: Atkinson wrists one five-hole on breakaway

Yet, chasing a record adds meaning to what would have been just another game at Nationwide Arena when the Blue Jackets play the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, SNW, NHL.TV).

Columbus is tied for the second-longest single-season winning streak in NHL history with the 1981-82 New York Islanders and the 2012-13 Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins won 17 straight March 9-April 10, 1993, the longest streak in history.

If the Blue Jackets win Tuesday, they could tie the record at the Washington Capitals on Thursday and possibly break it Saturday at home against the New York Rangers, who were coached by Tortorella from 2008-13.

"It hasn't been brought up once," right wing Cam Atkinson said. "It's just crucial to get two points at any point. Everyone is winning in this league, and this [is] when teams start revving it up. You can't really focus on the next five games or whatever."

Karlsson, unlike Tortorella, admits that he knows 17 is the magic number.

"I'm aware of that," he said. "I'm on Twitter, so it's kind of hard not to know it. That's where I get it from."

Video: CBJ@WPG: Foligno deflects Werenski's shot for PPG

The Blue Jackets also have a 17-game point streak (16-0-1), the longest in their history, that began following a 2-0 home loss to the Calgary Flames on Nov. 23. Columbus won 5-3 at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Nov. 25 before losing a 2-1 shootout at the Florida Panthers the next night.

The Blue Jackets started the winning streak by defeating the Lightning 5-1 on Nov. 29.

There have been some notable achievements during the streak, especially considering Columbus finished 27th in the NHL last season (34-40-8):

* Elias Sports Bureau said the Blue Jackets going 14-0-0 in December made them the second team in NHL history to win every game in a calendar month with a minimum of 10 games. The Penguins were 15-0-0 in March 2013.

Columbus had 14 wins last season on Dec. 31, 2015.  

* The Blue Jackets got their 26th win last season on Feb. 27 (26-29-8).

* Columbus has played three back-to-backs during the point streak, going 5-0-1.

Video: BOS@CBJ: Bobrovsky robs Marchand with sprawling stop

"We're not looking too far ahead of ourselves and getting over excited," defenseman Seth Jones said. "We've got to keep an even keel and attitude and come to the rink every day the same way and prepare the same way, and the results will take care of themselves."

Center Brandon Dubinsky notes that the winning streak is good for Columbus because the Blue Jackets are working on another one, having sold out Nationwide Arena the past three games for the first time since 2007.

"What we're trying to do is bring a winning organization, a winning atmosphere here to Columbus," he said. "Since I've been here, the fans have been great.

"The streak's great, and it's certainly creating a buzz, but having a successful, winning season so far has been good. We've got to continue and we'll build that type of relationship with the community of Columbus and the fan base of Columbus." 

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