Make it 10: Blue Jackets top Kings to extend winning streak

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The Columbus Blue Jackets may never lose again.

OK, at some point they will lose again (probably?), but right now they are the hottest team in the NHL and extended their franchise record winning streak to 10 games on Tuesday night with a 3-2 shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings.

The Blue Jackets have not lost a game since Nov. 26 when they dropped a 2-1 shootout decision in Florida. Along with the winning streak, they have now gained at least a point in 12 consecutive games and since starting the season with only two wins in their first six games have gone on a 19-2-3 run over the 24 games that have followed.

They have not lost a game in regulation since Nov. 23 against the Calgary Flames.

After Tuesday’s results they remain in third place in the Metropolitan Division, but managed to keep pace with the Pittsburgh Penguins and sit just a single point behind them. The Blue Jackets still have three games in hand. This all sets up a massive game with the Penguins on Thursday night in Columbus.

That should be pretty amazing, at least as far as regular season games in late December go.

When it comes to Tuesday’s win, this one was largely about backup goalie Curtis McElhinney thanks to his 44-save effort. He also made two saves in the shootout.

Cam Atkinson scored both Blue Jackets goals in regulation, giving him 14 on the season.

The Blue Jackets remain the most stunning story in the NHL this season.

Heading into the 2015-16 season there was an expectation they were going to take a big step forward and be a player in the Eastern Conference playoff race with a healthy roster and the addition of a top-line forward in Brandon Saad. But everything completely fell apart right from the start. After a disappointing season that ended with one of the worst records in the league there were few expectations coming into the 2016-17 season.

But thanks to huge bounce back years from veterans Sergei Bobrovsky and Nick Foligno, as well as some impressive play from a young core that includes Alexander Wennberg and Zach Werenski, the Blue Jackets seem to have arrived. Maybe one year later than everybody expected. But here they are.