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How Blue Jackets won 16 straight

Game-by-game look back at Columbus winning streak

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / Staff Writer

The Columbus Blue Jackets fell one win shy of their 17th straight victory when they were defeated by the Washington Capitals 5-0 on Thursday. Columbus, which had a chance to match the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins' NHL-record 17-game winning streak, are the second team in League history to win 16 in a row.

Here's how the streak came together:

1. Blue Jackets 5, Lightning 1

Nov. 29: Josh Anderson had a goal and two assists and Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. William Karlsson, Alexander Wennberg, Scott Hartnell and Sam Gagner scored for Columbus. 

"The guys were unbelievable," Bobrovsky said. "They make huge blocked shots, and perfect timing when I can't see. We help each other. It's fun to be here."

Video: TBL@CBJ: Hartnell finishes tic-tac-toe passing play

2. Blue Jackets 3, Avalanche 2

Dec. 1: Boone Jenner's goal with 11:03 remaining in the third period broke a 2-2 tie and the Blue Jackets defeated the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center. 

"Really happy for Boone to pop one," forward Brandon Dubinsky said. "He's been knocking on the door."

3. Blue Jackets 3, Coyotes 2 (SO)

Dec. 3: The Blue Jackets set a team record by taking 60 shots against Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith but needed Wennberg's game-tying goal with 2:16 left in the third period to push the game past regulation. Cam Atkinson and Gagner scored in the shootout for the win at Gila River Arena.

Columbus became the first NHL team with 60 or more shots in a game since the Toronto Maple Leafs had 61 against the New York Islanders on Nov. 23, 2009, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Video: CBJ@ARI: Wennberg nets backhand to tie the game late

4. Blue Jackets 4, Coyotes 1

Dec. 5: The rematch with the Coyotes at Nationwide Arena was a lot easier. Gagner scored twice and had an assist, and Columbus scored four straight goals after Arizona took the lead midway through the first period. 

"It's a fun team to be a part of," Gagner said. "I think we're doing a pretty good job of forgetting anything that happened the day before, just moving on and just having a good mindset about it. We're a confident group and hopefully we can keep going here."

5. Blue Jackets 4, Red Wings 1

Dec. 9: Bobrovsky made 32 saves and Lukas Sedlak scored his first NHL goal to help the Blue Jackets defeat the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
Though his team won again, coach John Tortorella warned his players about relying too much on their goaltender.

"I didn't think we were all that good, but [Bobrovsky] had another great game," Tortorella said. "You are going to need games like that, and he's been giving them to us. There hasn't been enough to our game lately. We need more grit and more checking."

Video: CBJ@DET: Sedlak pots backhand for first NHL goal

6. Blue Jackets 6, Islanders 2

Dec. 10: Columbus made it six straight by scoring four times in the third period. Jack Johnson, Atkinson and Seth Jones each had a goal and an assist in the home win against the New York Islanders

"I've never been on a team that's been in this position at this point of the year," Johnson said. "And I've been in the League 10 years. You really appreciate it when you're having a season like this."

7. Blue Jackets 3, Oilers 1

Dec. 13: Gagner scored a goal and had an assist, and Atkinson and Matt Calvert had goals at Rogers Place in the opener of a three-game Western Canada trip. Columbus improved to 8-0-1 in its past nine. 

"I thought the team took a little while to get going, but once we started playing, I thought we had a good second half of the game. [Bobrovsky] played great for us again, and that's a big one for us," Gagner said. "I think we have to find ways to be a little better to start that game, but I think throughout this year we found different ways to win.

8. Blue Jackets 4, Flames 1

Dec.16: Gagner scored his fifth goal in five games and rookie defenseman Zach Werenski had two assists to help the Blue Jackets tie the second-longest winning streak in club history. Bobrovsky made 22 saves.

"We're pretty hot right now, and it's fun to be on a winning team." said Werenski, the No. 8 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Video: CBJ@CGY: Saad buries laser from the high slot in 1st

9. Blue Jackets 4, Canucks 3 (OT)

Dec. 18: Jones' goal 46 seconds into overtime made Tortorella the first United States-born coach to win 500 NHL games. Brandon Saad scored twice, Wennberg had two assists and Atkinson contributed a goal and an assist at Rogers Arena. 

"He says it doesn't mean [anything], but it's a lot of wins," captain Nick Foligno said of Tortorella. "He's gone through a roller-coaster of a career ... going through so many things. We're really happy to have him at the helm here. He's really helped push this group forward. Really gratifying for all the guys to see him get that."

Video: CBJ@VAN: Jones buries Atkinson's pass for OT winner

10. Blue Jackets 3, Kings 2 (SO)

Dec. 20: Atkinson scored twice and again in the shootout, and backup goalie Curtis McElhinney made 44 saves through overtime and stopped two of three shots in the tiebreaker to extend the winning streak at Staples Center. The victory gave Columbus points in 12 straight games.

11. Blue Jackets 7, Penguins 1

Dec. 22: Hartnell's ninth NHL hat trick came against the defending Stanley Cup champions Pittsburgh Penguins and helped Columbus to its 11th straight win and first place in the Metropolitan Division before a sellout crowd at Nationwide Arena.

"Goals have been few and far between for myself for the last 15 or 20 games, so it's nice to contribute," Hartnell said. "Everyone had smiles on their faces tonight, everyone is contributing, and when you beat the Pens your smile is extra big."

Video: PIT@CBJ: Hartnell notches a hat trick vs. the Pens

12. Blue Jackets 2, Canadiens 1

Dec. 23: One night after blowing out the Penguins, the Blue Jackets showed they can win close games against good teams with the victory against the Montreal Canadiens at home. Bobrovsky made 36 saves for his League-leading 20th victory. Their 23-5-4 start was the best since joining the NHL in 2000.

"To secure these types of games when your team is not dead on, it's your goaltender," Tortorella said. "It's the most important position in hockey. We have probably one of the best goalies in the league here, so it has helped us quite a bit during this little streak."

13. Blue Jackets 4, Bruins 3

Dec. 27: The Blue Jackets wasted an early 3-0 lead against the Boston Bruins, but Foligno's power-play goal midway through the third period broke a 3-3 tie and gave Columbus its 13th straight win.

Bobrovsky was superb again, making 37 saves before another full house at Nationwide Arena.

"When we focus on our game and do the things necessary to win, we're a hard team to play against, and it makes it fun," Foligno said.

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

14. Blue Jackets 5, Jets 3

Dec. 29: Wennberg's two goals against the Winnipeg Jets helped Columbus match the third-longest winning streak in NHL history. Saad, Foligno and Sedlak also scored and Bobrovsky made 31 saves at MTS Centre for his 23rd win of the season.

"I think you're starting to see a team that's understanding that we expect to win if we play a certain way," Foligno said. "That's great for this organization, for our fans and this group."

15. Blue Jackets 4, Wild 2

Dec. 31: Atkinson scored twice to help the Blue Jackets complete 2016 with their 15th straight victory. Columbus also ended the Minnesota Wild's winning streak at 12 games.

"We've got the right group of guys to do it with," Anderson said. "Everybody's positive in the room. We're all having a bunch of fun."

Video: CBJ@MIN: Johnson, Atkinson score 15 seconds apart

16. Blue Jackets 3, Oilers 1

Jan. 3: Atkinson and Karlsson scored power-play goals to put the Blue Jackets in position to tie the 1992-93 Penguins for the longest winning streak in NHL history. The crowd at Nationwide Arena chanted "We want 16!" as time ran down.

"I'm proud of the team. They deserve it," Tortorella said. "I'm really happy how they've handled the past three games with all the talk and all that. It's a good test for them."

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