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Seven team records likely to stand test of time

by John Kreiser

Just as there are individual records that figure to last for decades (e.g. Wayne Gretzky's 92 goals in a season), there are team standards also likely to stand the test of time. Some are locked in (Philadelphia's record of 24 ties in 1969-70 is one, given that games now end in shootouts); others are achievements that will be nearly impossible to top no matter what the circumstances.

Here are a few marks that don't figure to be broken any time soon:

Consecutive playoff series won: 19 (New York Islanders, 1980-84)

The Montreal Canadiens own the record for consecutive Stanley Cups with five from 1956-60. But that was in the Original Six era, when teams had to win just two series to take home a championship. The 1976-79 Canadiens won four straight Cups but needed to win only three series each year, a total of 12.


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The Islanders' dynasty of the early 1980s went nearly half a decade without losing a series. The Isles won their opening-round series against Los Angeles in 1980 and didn't lose until falling to the Edmonton Oilers in the 1984 Final. They won four consecutive championships, covering 16 series, as well as capturing three more in '84 before losing to the Oilers.

No team since the Islanders' dynasty ended has won more than two consecutive Cups or nine playoff series in a row. Given that no team has won back-to-back Cups since Detroit did it in 1997 and '98, this mark could last for generations.

Longest streak without a regulation loss: 35 games (Philadelphia Flyers, 1979-80)

The Flyers opened the 1979-80 season by beating the Islanders 5-2, lost 9-2 in Atlanta two nights later -- and then went on the greatest run of any team in NHL history. For nearly three months -- 35 games -- they didn't lose, winning 25 times and playing ties in 10 other games.

Philadelphia started the streak with three straight wins, then won nine in a row after a 6-6 home tie against Montreal on Oct. 21, 1979. The Flyers had four other sets of back-to-back wins and had won four in a row when they came to Met Center on Jan. 7, 1980, to face the Minnesota North Stars in the second of a back-to-back series after winning 4-2 at Buffalo the night before. The North Stars emphatically ended the streak with a 7-1 victory.

The Flyers later had unbeaten streaks of 10 and nine games on the way to finishing first in the overall standings -- though they lost to the Islanders in the Stanley Cup Final.

No team before or since has come close to the Flyers' record; No. 2 on the list is the 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens, who went 28 games without a loss.

Highest points percentage (70 or more games): .825 (Montreal Canadiens, 1976-77)

The '76-77 Canadiens may not own the record for the longest unbeaten streak -- their longest stretch without a loss was "only" 21 games -- but no team in the past 62 years (since the season was expanded to 70 games) has done a better job at bringing home points than that Montreal team.

The Canadiens started their season by blasting Pittsburgh 10-1 and kept on rolling. They set a League record (since broken) with 60 victories and added 12 ties while losing only eight times in 80 games. Their 132 points (out of a possible 160) are still the most by any team in one season (the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings had 131 of a possible 164), and they set an NHL record by losing just once in 40 home games. The Canadiens outscored their opponents 387-171.

Three of the Habs' eight regular-season losses, including the only one at home, came at the hands of the Boston Bruins -- making the sweep of their archrival in the Stanley Cup Final that much sweeter.

Longest non-shutout streak: 264 games (Calgary Flames, Nov. 12, 1981-Jan. 9, 1985)

The Calgary Flames heard plenty of boos from the fans at the Stampede Corral when they were embarrassed 7-0 by the visiting Blues on Nov. 10, 1981. Little did they know that their team would go more than three full seasons without seeing a "0" at the end of the game.

Two nights after the embarrassing loss to the Blues, Calgary began the longest consecutive-game scoring streak in NHL history by edging the Quebec Nordiques 3-2. Win or lose, the Flames kept scoring until Jan. 11, 1985, when the Nordiques blanked them 4-0 at the Colisee in Quebec.

The Los Angeles Kings came close to matching the Flames' mark, having scored in 261 consecutive games before Calgary preserved its line in the NHL record book with a 5-0 win at L.A. on Oct. 25, 1989. In contrast, no team has gone as much as one full season without being shut out since the 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres scored in all 82 games.

Largest margin of victory: 15 (Detroit Red Wings, Jan. 23, 1944)

The 1943-44 New York Rangers had been decimated by World War II -- GM Lester Patrick had wanted to suspend play when the war broke out but was talked out of it by his fellow owners, who felt a five-team League wouldn't be viable.

But the Rangers were coming off back-to-back wins when they arrived at the Olympia for a meeting with the Red Wings one night after whipping the Maple Leafs 5-1 in Toronto. Little did they know that they were going to take the worst beating in NHL history.

The crowd of 12,293 roared as the Wings scored twice in the opening period and blew the game open with five goals in the second. But that was just a warm-up for the third period -- the Wings scored eight goals against a beleaguered Ken McAuley, including three in the final eight minutes by Syd Howe. The eight third-period goals were only one fewer than the Rangers' shot total for the full game. Had the final horn been a second later, the Wings would have had another goal -- the puck went into the net an instant after the game ended.

The 15 goals are the most scored by a team since the red line was introduced in 1943. The Wings also set a mark by scoring 15 consecutive goals.

Most shots on goal in a game: 83 (Boston Bruins, March 4, 1941)

More than 70 years after the Bruins made life miserable for Chicago goaltender Sam LoPresti, no team has come close to matching Boston's fusillade against the Hawks late in the 1940-41 season. Amazingly, LoPresti made 80 saves, though the Bruins got three pucks past him and won 3-2.

Since that night, the Bruins are the only team to come within hailing distance of their own record. They had 73 in a 3-3 tie with Quebec on March 21, 1991 and 72 in an 8-2 victory against the first-year Buffalo Sabres on Dec. 10, 1970. No other franchise has broken 70 shots in a game since then, and the most shots by a team in one game in the 21st century is 61 by Toronto against the Islanders on Nov. 23, 2009.

Fewest points in a season (70 or more games): 21 (Washington Capitals, 1974-75)

The expansion Washington Capitals lost their first two games, both on the road, then tied their home opener against Los Angeles on Oct. 15, 1974, and earned their first win two nights later by edging the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 on a third-period goal by Jack Egers. That gave the Caps three points after four games -- a very respectable showing for a new team.

Unfortunately for the new franchise, that win was the highlight of their season.

The Caps went more than a month before beating the California Golden Seals for their second win, and didn't win their third game until topping Toronto 3-1 on Dec. 15. Only by winning twice in their final five games were the Caps able to break the 20-point mark for the season; their 8-67-5 mark also set a record for the fewest wins in a season.

In 1992-93, the first-year Ottawa Senators and second-year San Jose Sharks came close to the Caps' mark but finished with 24 points. No other team has had less than 30 points; the fewest by any team in the last 15 years is 39 by the first-year Atlanta Thrashers in 1999-2000.

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