What in the world is going on in the NHL this season? We are seeing 7+ game win streaks all over the league and three of the five have been by teams who were at the bottom of the standings at some point this season. Currently, on February 21st, the St. Louis Blues are in the midst of an 11 game win streak, the Boston Bruins are on a seven game win streak and the Tampa Bay Lightning are also at seven games. Recently we have also seen the Philadelphia Flyers eight game win streak come to an end and earlier in the season there was a 10 game run by the Buffalo Sabres. We’ve also seen numerous five game win streaks with the Toronto Maple Leafs have three separate five game winning streaks alone this season. So what has gone into some of these long win streaks this season?
For the Flyers it was new goaltender Carter Hart who lit a fire and helped the Flyers get back into the playoff race as we near the deadline. Philadelphia is currently six points out of the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Also six points out of the second wild card spot in the East are the Buffalo Sabres, who owned the season’s first double digit win streak. During their ten game win streak they scored a lot of goals, and had a bit of luck on their side, as seven of those ten games went to overtime and three of those seven went to a shootout. The Sabres are currently on a three game losing streak while the Flyers have won three of four after losing the Lightning on Tuesday.
Speaking of the Lightning, who are by far the best team in the NHL, who are currently on a seven game win streak, have just been putting the net in the puck at an unheard of rate. In six of the seven games Tampa Bay has scored at least five goals while only giving up more than three goals once. The Lightning last loss game against the hottest team in the NHL, the St. Louis Blues. The Blues, who haven’t lost since January 21st, have won eight of the 11 games during this streak on the road, which is an amazing aspect of this run. They are using a combination of goaltending, handing out four shutouts, and scoring, having scored four or more goals in six of eleven, to keep this run going. After a road game at Dallas, on Thursday, the Blues will host another team currently on a long winning streak when the Boston Bruins come to town. Boston, who has had to go to overtime or a shootout in four of the seven games, are playing all around good hockey at the moment and have a real shot at ending that Blues win streak should the Blues beat Dallas.
We are around the 20 games to go mark in the season and the team currently on these long win streaks are in great shape to make the playoffs and are working on seeding. Teams like the Flyers and Sabres are still hopeful that they can ride those win streaks from this season into a playoff berth, so that they too get a shot at the Stanley Cup.