After securing a 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers at Nationwide Arena Tuesday night, the Columbus Blue Jackets are just one win away from equaling the National Hockey League’s record for the most consecutive wins.
But despite winning 16 straight games and going undefeated in the month of December, the Blue Jackets are not looking beyond the next game, which comes at the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.
“I just want us to keep our head down and I just want us to continue to play,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. “You know what we are? We’re a group of businessmen as far as I’m concerned, and that’s where I think they really grasp it.
“They’ve accepted the thought of coming to work every day and worrying about that day, playing that game and worrying about that game, not worrying about what happened, what’s ahead of us. That’s what we are right now. We’re becoming pretty good pros.”
In the win over the Oilers (19-13-7), the Blue Jackets (27-5-4) generated 35 shots, gave up only 22, had 10 takeaways and only three giveaways, all while keeping the penalty minutes down to nine and bringing the physicality by handing out 17 hits.
“There’s been times throughout this streak here where it looks like it’s getting away from us, but I think that’s a big part of the maturity of the team that it hasn’t,” said Tortorella. “Like I said the other night, when they scored a goal at the start of the third period out in Minnesota, our bench didn’t hiccup once as far as their attitude, as far as what they needed to do. There was no panic.
“That’s a huge step that we’ve taken with this team. We’re going to have more opportunities to get that tested when things aren’t going well for us. I think we answered it really well the other night, and hopefully, that continues to grow.”
With 27 wins through the first three months of the season, the Blue Jackets are off to their best start in franchise history, and own not only the best record, but also, the highest points total (58) in the NHL. Currently, the Blue Jackets have a three-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metropolitan Division.
Although the Blue Jackets are one win away from equaling the NHL record of 17 consecutive victories, set by the Penguins in the 1992-1993 season, Columbus is focusing on doing what is necessary to remain atop the Metropolitan Division.
“It’s an opportunity to get it, that’s pretty much all it is,” Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno said. “It’s an opportunity to be in the record books, but more than that, for us, it’s a great opportunity to play against a good team in Washington.
“They’re a tough team. They play really well at home, and I’m sure they’re going to be licking their chops for when we come in. I’m sure it’ll have a little bit of an atmosphere to the game, but we know we’re in no position to be thinking about that. We’ve got to worry about them, and what they’re going to bring and try to negate it.”