It was a fact that read like a riddle. Heading into Tuesday night’s tilt between the Jets and Coyotes, the last time Arizona had won a game in Winnipeg was when the Coyotes were the Jets.
How is that possible? Well, for those not up on their NHL history, here’s how: back in April 1996, the original Winnipeg Jets franchise was on the brink of relocation to Phoenix when it won a final home contest, a post-season outing against the Detroit Red Wings at the old Winnipeg Arena. Upon their relocation south of the border, however, the franchise no longer had a Winnipeg opponent – at least not until 2011, when the Atlanta Thrashers moved north to become the new Winnipeg Jets. But over the course of the past nine seasons, not once have the Coyotes been able to beat the present-day Jets in Manitoba’s capital. Thus, the last time Arizona won a game in Winnipeg is when the franchise was located in Winnipeg.
Make sense? Good. Great. Unfortunately, though, it’s a fact that’s of little use now because following the Coyotes’ 4-2 victory over the Jets on Tuesday night, Arizona’s 10-game losing streak in Winnipeg has come to a halt. Yes, after nearly two and a half decades, the Coyotes’ most recent victory in Winnipeg now exists under the Coyotes moniker.
For Arizona’s sake, however, the victory means more than simply clearing up some who’s-on-first-esque confusion about their last win in Winnipeg. It also put an end to one of the longest road losing streaks in the NHL. The Coyotes’ 10 consecutive road losses against the Jets was the fifth-longest active streak in the NHL heading into Tuesday night and a streak that dated back to December 2011.
But Arizona’s slump-busting victory left us wondering which club has the greatest road woes of all. Here are 10 longest-standing regular season road losing streaks – based on total games played – that NHL teams will be looking to snap this season:
10. Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins – 8 games
Dating back to Dec. 21, 2015, the Blue Jackets have had absolutely no luck inside the PPG Paints Arena despite repeated opportunities to snap the streak. In fact, on three separate occasions during the eight-game losing streak in Pittsburgh, Columbus has been within one goal of ending it. However, two shootout losses and overtime defeat have ensured that the Penguins have kept the streak alive. And besides those three games, the eight-game losing streak in Pittsburgh has been downright awful for the Blue Jackets, who have been outscored 35-16 during that time.
The good news? The Penguins are a division rival, so despite losing the first road contest against them this season, Columbus gets another chance to end the streak on Dec. 12.
9. Florida Panthers at Pittsburgh Penguins – 8 games
Yes, seriously, the ninth- and 10th-longest road-losing streaks both come against the Penguins. That’s just how these things work out sometimes. Speaking of working out, nothing the Panthers have tried in Pittsburgh has done so dating back to Dec. 20, 2014. The results have been as lopsided for the Cats on the road against the Penguins as they have been for the Blue Jackets, as Florida has been outscored 30-12 in Pittsburgh over their past eight trips.
Given the Panthers are a team on the rise – though the early results suggest otherwise – maybe this is the season they can finally end their disdain for travelling to Pittsburgh. Florida visits the Penguins on Jan. 5, 2019.
8. Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Lightning – 8 games
This is the first of a few technicalities on this list. Technically, the Blackhawks have won some road games against the Lightning since the regular season losing streak in Tampa Bay began back on March 9, 2011. And those games in the Stanley Cup final. So, you know, kind of important and notable road victories. But you’ll not that we’re listing regular season streaks, in part because adding in post-season losses, when teams are going head-to-head in succession, would skew the numbers.
That said, when it comes to action during the 82-game slate, the Blackhawks haven’t managed to win a game when visiting the bolts in eight tries. It’s been oh-so-close, though. Only two of the eight games have been decided by more than one goal and five have needed overtime or a shootout.
7. Chicago Blackhawks at Washington Capitals – 8 games
Again, we can’t plan these, so it’s odd to see the Blackhawks possess two of the longest regular-season road losing streaks in the league. And this one has already moved into an 11th year. Beginning with a loss to the Capitals back on Oct. 11, 2008 – which makes this the third-longest streak on this list by age – Chicago has proceeded to drop each and every one of their next eight visits to Washington. And because the two teams are in opposite conferences and see each other so sparingly, the Blackhawks only have one shot to rectify the losing streak this season. It’s a long wait, though: not until March 14, 2020, will Chicago head to Capital One Arena.
6. Carolina Hurricanes at Tampa Bay Lightning – 9 games
Given the recent success of the Hurricanes and that Carolina looks as though they’re going to be competing for top spot in the Eastern Conference, there’s a real, honest-to-goodness possibility that this streak ends this season. For the time being, though, this is a run that dates back to Dec. 21, 2013, when the Hurricanes dropped a 3-2 overtime contest to the Lightning in Tampa Bay. Tight games has been the theme of the streak, too. All nine losses have been by two or fewer goals and three have come in overtime.
The Hurricanes have a chance to end the streak on Nov. 30, but they’ll have to do so after travelling for the second half of a back-to-back.
5. Buffalo Sabres at Chicago Blackhawks – 9 games
In the entire post-lockout era, the Sabres have won one game at the United Center. To put that into further perspective, the victory, which came on Jan. 10, 2007, came during the Buffaslug era. The game’s opening goal was scored by Jochen Hecht. Maxim Afinogenov scored the game winner. Denis Arkhipov scored for the Blackhawks. Ryan Miller backstopped the Sabres to the win. All of this is to say, in the immortal words of Staind, it’s been a while.
It seems as though the time is coming for the Sabres to finally win one in Chicago, though. In the past three outings, Buffalo has lost two in overtime and one in a shootout. And given the way the two teams are trending, it shouldn’t be too long before we see the Sabres leave the Windy City with a win.
4. Arizona Coyotes at Dallas Stars – 12 games
Despite the fact these two clubs have played each other fairly often over the past several seasons, it’s really not all that surprising that the Coyotes have failed to win a game in Dallas since Feb. 7, 2013. For a good long while, Arizona was one of the league’s foremost bottom feeders, a basement team that simply couldn’t find its way forward. At the same time, the Stars were starting to turn into a team consistently fighting for a playoff berth. So, it’s not all that difficult to see how the streak could reach a dozen games for the Coyotes.
But with Arizona starting to build itself up and establish itself as a playoff contender in its own right, it’s not all that far-fetched to believe this season could see the Coyotes snap a second lengthy road losing streak. It’s going to be a while before they get the chance, though. The next road contest in Dallas? Feb. 19, 2020, almost seven years to the day after the losing streak started.
3. Montreal Canadiens at San Jose Sharks – 12 games
There’s nothing to see here as far as the playoffs are concerned. Plain and simple, this is a 12-game drought that dates back to the early aughts. The last time the Canadiens were able to waltz into the Shark Tank and exit with a win was when the Habs picked up an overtime victory powered by the Sergei Zholtok, Martin Rucinsky, Craig Rivet and the goaltending of Jose Theodore. The date of that win? Nov. 23, 1999. Now stop, think about that for a second and realize that we’re coming up on the 20th anniversary of that victory. And Montreal won’t even be able to stop the streak from reaching 20 years. The first and only time they head to San Jose this season is on March 19, 2020.
2. Detroit Red Wings at Tampa Bay Lightning – 13 games
By regular season measure, this is a streak that began on Dec. 12, 2013. But this is the point where a few Red Wings fans shout at their screens to state that, if you include post-season action, Detroit has actually won a game in Tampa Bay since then. And that’s true! The Red Wings downed the Bolts 4-0 in Tampa Bay on April 25, 2015, in Game 5 of a first-round tilt between the two teams. Hooray!
That said, trying to remove the Red Wings from the list based on that technicality does them no good. In fact, if you include Detroit’s playoff performances in Tampa Bay, they’ve still lost 13 consecutive games when visiting the Lightning, a run that dates back to April 29, 2015.
1. Chicago Blackhawks at Philadelphia Flyers – 15 games
Blame the Blackhawks’ runs to the Stanley Cup final for screwing this up, because were it not for their post-season road victories over the Flyers during the 2010 Stanley Cup final, this streak wouldn’t need an asterisk. Unfortunately, though, it does.
If we’re to keep the focus on the regular season losses, though, it’s still hard to fathom how Chicago has gone 15 games without a win in Philadelphia. It’s even more difficult to comprehend when you realize the streak actually outdates the Canadiens’ losing streak in San Jose. The loss that kicked this drought off for the Blackhawks was a March 31, 1998, defeat at the hands of the Flyers, and Chicago’s last win in Philadelphia before that was on Nov. 9, 1996. The goal scorers for the Blackhawks that night were Gary Suter, Eric Daze, Murray Craven and Tony Amote. Jeff Hackett picked up the win.
Chicago’s losing streak in Philadelphia is set to bleed into next season, too, the lone mark on this list that is guaranteed to do so. The Blackhawks kicked off the season against the Flyers in Prague, and that outing went into the books as Chicago’s lone road game against Philadelphia this season. (It also counts as a 16th consecutive “away” loss for the Blackhawks, but only 15 have actually happened in the Philadelphia.)
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