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Streak: Busted

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The fun had to end sometime. Turns out it was tonight.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

By now, unless you just magically woke up (in which case welcome, and thank you for reading the Cannon!), the Columbus Blue Jackets entered the game against the Washington Capitals with a chance at history. A win against the Capitals meant that the Blue Jackets would equal the 1992-93 Penguins at 17 wins in a row, setting the stage for a monster showdown against the New York Rangers on Saturday night in Nationwide Arena.

Heading into the game, no lineup changes were expected for Columbus. Sergei Bobrovsky would man the net, and the skaters would remain the same has the have through the entirety of the streak. The Capitals entered on a hot streak of their own, playing exceptionally well since their loss to Columbus back in November. And the Capitals knew quite what team and streak was coming into town; Brooks Orpik noted that the Capitals had been scoreboard watching in the changing room during their win over the Maple Leafs.

How did the boys in Union Blue fair? Not well. They lost the game 5-0, and it could have probably been worse.

Let’s look back on some things though. This is the club’s first loss since November 26, 2016. Sergei Bobrovsky went 14-0-0 in the streak before tonight. Brandon Saad, Alex Wennberg, and Cam Atkinson stepped forward in huge ways. This team currently, despite their loss tonight, leads the NHL.

Torts was right in his post-game presser: we played well, until we didn’t. Some bounces didn’t go right, but that’s hockey. Ultimately, tonight was two points missed. What comes now, and what is more important, is how this team responds going forward. There’s something in this room that we’ve never seen before. Jack Johnson, John Tortorella – both admitted tonight that this is a good hockey team. The belief in this team is there, the guys believe in themselves, for maybe the first time in franchise history.

There are tough games coming up. There’s a lot of hockey to be played this year, and then the real season begins in the second week of April. Tonight was a setback, sure, but it was also a teaching moment. There is a lot to learn from a game like this, and there was valuable experience gained that will pay dividends down the line.

There are things to correct. Was the stage too big right now? Did the team come out overhyped and too excited, putting too much pressure on themselves? Maybe. The power play can use work after going 0-5 tonight. These are fixable. There’s a lot to look forward to the rest of the way.

Treasure these memories. We’re not likely to see this club do this again in our lifetimes. These are memories we can tell our children and grandchildren about. We saw the Blue Jackets do what only one other club has ever done. These are memories for a lifetime, memories we’ll never ever forget.

We’ll be back. Go Jackets.

Final

Columbus Blue Jackets 0 Washington Capitals 5

Scoring: Winnick (Beagle, Schmidt), Carlson (Johansson, Kuznetsov), Schmidt (Ovechkin, Backstrom), Burakovsky (Carlson), Williams (Kuznetsov)

Holtby: 29 saves