Needing a victory in Washington on Thursday night to match the 1993 Pittsburgh Penguins' NHL-record 17-game winning streak, the Columbus Blue Jackets fell flat.
Squaring off against Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals, coach John Tortorella's squad was trounced 5-0, ending their second-place streak at 16 games.
The Blue Jackets can't slow down now, though, not while the Eastern Conference playoff race is so tight.
Columbus, the leaders of the Eastern Conference, must regroup quickly for a Saturday night home game against the second-place New York Rangers. Tortorella told ESPN.com there's a lot of important hockey facing his team in the coming weeks:
"You cannot exhale," Tortorella said. "We have so much hockey to be played. I still don't know who we are. ... We have a long ways to go here to really define who we are."
With 58 points, Columbus is only three points ahead of the Rangers and Penguins, who each have 55 points.
From there, the Eastern Conference race gets even tighter, as the Montreal Canadiens (54 points) and Capitals (53) are right on the Blue Jackets' heels.
The players, to their credit, seem to have the right frame of mind. Center Brandon Dubinsky said he and his teammates are sad the streak is over, but they have their sights set on a bigger prize:
"We're going to have a lot of divisional games coming up, a lot Eastern Conference games, a lot of four-point nights, and I think we're ready for the challenge," center Brandon Dubinsky said. "Really proud of this group, and I know this group can handle it, so I'm excited to see where we go from there."
Columbus (27-6-4) hosts the Rangers on Saturday night before facing the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. From there, the Blue Jackets embark on a three-game Eastern Conference road trip that will have them travel to take on Carolina, Florida and Tampa Bay.News Now - Sport News