The 2016–17 Columbus Blue Jackets season was one for the record books – in more ways than one. 1st Ohio Battery looks back at the individual and team records from the campaign.
Maybe you have season tickets. Maybe you just come to Nationwide Arena for a handful of games per year. Heck, maybe you just tune in on television from wherever you are in either Ohio or the rest of the country.
But when you turn on a Columbus Blue Jackets game, you just want to see a win. Doesn't matter how. The goal is to head back to your car, stroll back to your home, or turn off the TV after a victory.
Of course, this hasn't happened a ton in Blue Jackets franchise history. With just two playoff appearances in the first 15 years of hockey – this in a league in which more than half the teams make the postseason – Jackets fans have more often than not left the game frustrated.
But in some ways, that made 2016-17 much more satisfying. From the 16-game winning streak to the earliest clinch of a playoff spot in franchise history to one final win in Game 4, Columbus fans got to watch their team win more games and total more points in franchise history. It was a lot of fun, frankly.
The Old Record: 43 wins, 93 points in 2013-14
By any measure, the previous best season in Blue Jackets history was three years ago when Columbus set team marks with a 43 wins and 93 points on the way to a 43-32-7 campaign. The was also the season in which Columbus won its first playoff game and first-ever home postseason game on the way to a six-game series loss to Pittsburgh.
Looking back, only four times previously had Columbus won at least half of the games on the schedule. The team had 42 wins in 2014-15 thanks mostly to a scorching finish but had an injury-plagued campaign and fell short of a return trip to the postseason.
Previous to that, Columbus had 41 wins – exactly half of the 82 on the schedule – in the playoff season of 2008-09. And it's easy to forget, but Columbus won 24 of 48 games in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season only to miss out on the postseason via tiebreaker.
Record Breaker: 2016-17 Blue Jackets Finish with 50 wins, 108 points
When the regular season ended, there was some consternation. Columbus needed a victory against Toronto on the final day to avoid going into the playoffs on an eight-game losing streak.
Of course, Columbus got that victory, and head coach John Tortorella had a succinct response for his team.
"We got 50 wins," he said. "That team should feel goddamn good about themselves."
Indeed, he was right. Columbus blew by the previous franchise season marks during a season in which it clinched a playoff berth far earlier than any time in CBJ history.
Of course, it didn't quite look like that would be the case during the season. Columbus started 0-2, the first game a dispiriting 6-3 loss in the home opener followed by a taut 3-2 setback against San Jose. Quickly, it looked like every Blue Jackets season to date.
But things changed after five days off when Columbus responded with a 3-2 win vs. Chicago in game three. By Nov. 14, the Jackets were 4-3-1 heading into a home game vs. Montreal, and Columbus showed it was for real with a 10-0 drubbing of the Canadiens on the Nationwide Arena ice.
A four-game winning streak capped by a win at Washington made the team 10-4-2, and suddenly excitement was building. Columbus was 11-5-4 at Thanksgiving, but Christmas presents were soon to be bountiful as the Jackets went on a 16-game win streak that served as the second-longest in NHL history.
From there, it was just a matter of time when Columbus would set franchise wins and points marks, and win No. 44 along with point No. 94 came March 13, nearly a full month before end of the campaign, with a 5-3 win at Philadelphia. The mark was set.
Fast-forward to playoff time and Columbus ended the season with 50 wins. John Tortorella was right. The team, franchise and fans should feel real goddamn god about it.