The Boston Bruins came up one short of matching their longest winning streak since the 1970-71 season, when their arch-rival Montreal Canadiens handed the Bruins their first taste of defeat since the first day of March Monday night at TD Garden in Boston. But it took not only the full 60 minutes but an overtime period and four rounds of a tie-breaking shootout for Montreal to stop the Bruins’ streak.
The longest winning streak in NHL history belongs to the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins, led by the Hall of Fame tandem of Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr, who recorded an incredible 17 straight wins.
The Boston Bruins hold the third-longest NHL winning streak with 14 consecutive victories in 1929-30, an NHL record that stood for more than 50 years until the 1982 New York Islanders won 15 straight.
In 1930, the NHL had only 10 teams, each playing a 44-game regular season schedule, compared to today when the league has 30 teams and plays an 82-game regular season.
Bruins Coach Claude Julien said that travel fatigue was a factor in the streak-breaking loss, in which the Bruins were held scoreless until a power play goal from Patrice Bergeron with just 5:26 remaining the third period saved Boston and ultimately sent the game into overtime.
“It was the typical game that teams play when they come back off one of those road trips,” said the Bruins coach. “Like I said, we played in three different time zones. Yesterday, it was almost a five-hour flight back from Phoenix.”
The Bruins’ recent road trip took them to New Jersey and Denver before a Saturday night game in Phoenix. They returned home to play the hated Habs Monday.
A shootout goal by Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk over sprawling Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask, after the Bruins missed four straight attempts at the other end, gave Montreal the victory.
The Canadiens after the game revealed that they were actually rooting for their rivals to win in Phoenix Saturday — so they could be the ones to snap the streak.
“We were kind of hoping Boston would come back to win so we would get the chance to knock them off,” said Montreal’s Dale Wiese “Boston-Montreal is a big rivalry, and for us this is a potential playoff matchup down the road, so we want to put a little doubt in their mind that we’re a hard team to play against.”
Despite the loss, the Bruins remain one just of three NHL teams to have already clinched a playoff berth, and the only Eastern Conference team to do so, with just 10 games remaining in the regular season. Boston sits atop the Atlantic Division with 104 points, 17 ahead of Montreal and Tampa Bay with 87 each.