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'92-93 Penguins impressed by Blue Jackets streak

Jaromir Jagr, Joe Mullen have praise for Columbus, who could tie record for consecutive wins

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

Jaromir Jagr was a member of the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins team that won an NHL-record 17 games in a row.

The 44-year-old Florida Panthers forward wouldn't mind being on the team that ends the longest streak since then.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have a chance to match the Penguins' streak when they play at the Washington Capitals on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; CSN-DC, FS-O, NHL.TV). If the Blue Jackets win, they can pass Pittsburgh by defeating the New York Rangers at home on Saturday.

Jagr, who was in his third NHL season when the Penguins set the record, said he hopes the Blue Jackets' streak is still going when they come to Florida on Jan. 14. The streak would be at 21 games.

"If they break it, then our team is going to have extra motivation to beat it," Jagr said Wednesday. "We're just waiting for them, that's all. See how long they can do it."

The Panthers were the last team to defeat the Blue Jackets, 2-1 in a shootout on Nov. 26. Since then, Columbus has won 16 in a row, joining the 1992-93 Penguins as the only NHL teams to do so.

Video: 16 great plays from the Blue Jackets' historic streak

That Penguins team had won the Stanley Cup in each of the previous two seasons and was led by four future Hockey Hall of Fame members in Mario Lemieux, Ron Francis, Joe Mullen and Larry Murphy, plus Jagr.

During their streak, which ran from March 14 to April 9, 1993, they outscored their opponents 96-48, including two games with 10 goals.

"On that team, our first line was Mario and [Rick] Tocchet and [Kevin] Stevens," said Arizona Coyotes coach Dave Tippett, who as a Penguins left wing had 11 points during the 17-game streak. "And then there was Jagr, Francis and Joey Mullen. So it was like you could go out and play an average game and have a chance to win. It was a lot of fun."

Mullen, now an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers, said the goaltending the Penguins got from Tom Barrasso and Ken Wregget also was important. Barrasso had a .929 save percentage in 11 games during the streak.

"We had a pretty strong team," Mullen said. "We were scoring a lot of goals during that [streak]. … You get a lot of confidence from that. I don't think our team ever lacked any confidence."

Jagr said he's been impressed by the Blue Jackets' mindset during their streak.

"With a streak like that, it's kind of impressive," he said. "With a long schedule like that, 82 games, it's a long schedule and they kind of find extra motivation to play like in the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs. That's their advantage. They're treating it as a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final every game. That's the way it should be all the time, but with the long schedule it's kind of tough. I think it's helping them, the extra motivation they've got to beat that [Penguins record] streak."

Mullen said he's proud of what his 1992-93 Penguins accomplished but didn't mind sharing the spotlight.

"It's a record that lasted for a while and those are made to be broken," he said. "Columbus is doing a great job so far this year. If they do it, they do it."

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