Cam Tucker

Video: ‘That is one helluva run,’ says Torts after Blue Jackets winning streak ends

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It had to end eventually.

Unfortunately for the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, their franchise best winning streak ended at 16 games after a 5-0 loss to the Washington Capitals. It closes one win shy of matching the NHL record held by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins.

That’s quite a stretch of hockey for the Blue Jackets, who have played their way into first place in the Metropolitan Division. And the significance wasn’t lost on coach John Tortorella afterward.

It’s all over: Capitals end Blue Jackets winning streak at 16 games

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The streak is over.

But what a run it was for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

After 16 consecutive wins and a chance at tying the NHL record for the longest winning streak in its history, the Blue Jackets lost for the first time since late-November as they fell 5-0 to the Washington Capitals on Thursday.

With a win, Columbus would’ve tied the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins for the longest winning streak ever in the NHL, and had a chance to set the new record on Saturday against the New York Rangers.

The young Blue Jackets have emerged as Stanley Cup favorites, albeit in January. They lead the Metropolitan Division and they have the best power play in the league. Certainly, they have to be considered a contender for the Eastern Conference at this point in the season.

As coach John Tortorella rightfully pointed out, the Blue Jackets have been recognized on a national scale for something positive, which has never really been the case for a franchise that hasn’t done much winning in its time.

“There is no burden with our team and that’s what I like about it,” Tortorella told the Columbus Dispatch. “A lot of these guys haven’t been covered nationally . . . This has brought a little bit of light to the organization in a positive way. A number of things have been in a negative way with the organization over the years.

“That’s what I like. We’re getting a little bit of experience to the exposure where if you have an opportunity to play in the playoffs, it’s on you. For such a young team I think it’s good that we are being spoon fed some of it.”

But all good things must come to an end.

The Blue Jackets didn’t get off to a great start. It wasn’t a bad opening 20 minutes for them. They had the edge in shots, forcing Braden Holtby to be on top of his game. But the Capitals capitalized on goals from Daniel Winnik on a scramble in front and John Carlson off the rush to take the lead, and they never looked back.

They increased that lead to four goals in the second period. Even Nate Schmidt, who hadn’t scored in almost a full year, got into the act for Washington, making it 3-0.

Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled in the third period.

And that top-ranked Blue Jackets power play couldn’t score on its five opportunities.

WATCH LIVE: Sabres at Blackhawks

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 08: Ryan O'Reilly #90 of the Buffalo Sabres and Marian Hossa #81 of the Chicago Blackhawks chase the puck at the United Center on January 8, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Sabres 3-1.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Despite going through a recent slump, the Chicago Blackhawks still hold top spot in the Central Division, while their opponent Thursday, the Buffalo Sabres, is looking to climb out of the basement in the Eastern Conference.

The Blackhawks and Sabres meet tonight at the United Center in Chicago at 8:30 p.m. ET.

You can catch tonight’s game on TV on NBCSN, or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

NHL on NBCSN: Sabres don’t want to take slumping ‘Hawks lightly

The Blackhawks have new lines again, as trade speculation heats up

Unlike Rex Ryan, Dan Bylsma doesn’t report directly to the Pegulas (Updated)

Video: Capitals off to quick start in bid to ruin Blue Jackets chance at history

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The Columbus Blue Jackets are chasing history, looking for their 17th straight win.

The Washington Capitals currently stand in their way of matching the longest winning streak in NHL history, currently held by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins.

It’s early, but the Capitals are off to a decent start in their bid to end the Blue Jackets winning streak.

Read more:Going to be a fun moment’ ending Columbus’ streak, says Burakovsky

Daniel Winnik and John Carlson scored in the first period, giving Washington a 2-0 lead, although Columbus held an edge in shots-on-goal following the opening 20 minutes.

So yes, if the Blue Jackets are to extend their chance at history, they’ll need to come back from two goals down. They haven’t found themselves in this situation very often this season.

Welcome back: Blackhawks activate Hossa from injured reserve

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 09:  Marian Hossa #81 of the Chicago Blackhawks talks to a teammate against the San Jose Sharks at the United Center on February 9, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Sharks defeated the Blackhawks 2-0.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Good news for the Chicago Blackhawks heading into tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres.

The Blackhawks have activated Marian Hossa from injured reserve, and all signs point to him back in the lineup, projected to be on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Spencer Abbott, per CSN Chicago.

Hossa hasn’t played since Dec. 20, but there had been signs of his return in recent days with the reassignment of Tyler Motte to the American Hockey League.

The Blackhawks have certainly missed Hossa in their lineup, with only one win since he got hurt.

It also looks like defenseman Brian Campbell will be a healthy scratch for the Blackhawks.

“With eight defensemen around, you can say it’s a luxury over the course of 82 games,” said head coach Joel Quenneville.

“Sometimes we look at the back-to-backs but in this situation, when we have eight defensemen, performance is probably the most important point on making a decision. When you have eight guys you’re not really disappointed in, we’re making decisions that are close.”