Friday, April 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Ranting on a NHL Record Injustice

Not all Winning Streaks are created equal.

Ranting on a NHL Record Injustice

The Flyers are stinking it up, and we feel the need to take it out — at least statistically — on somebody. So here goes:

You will read in many, many places today that the Red Wings on Sunday tied an NHL record (shared by the Flyers) by recording their 20th consecutive home victory. We say "asterisk!"

The record was originally set by the 1929-30 Boston Bruins, tied by the Orange and Black in 1975-76 and then again Sunday by the Red Wings. And that is where the similarities end.

Consider: The Flyers of 36 seasons ago won each of those 20 games in the regulation 60 minutes. In 1929-30, the NHL had a 10-minute, non-sudden death overtime period if games were tied after 60 minutes. The Bruins twice won in the extra half-period. If that had been any NHL season from 1943-44 through 1982-83, their streak would have ended after 10 games.

And don't get us started on the Red Wings. Twenty percent of Detroit's precious 20 consecutive victories exceeded the 60-minute mark. They have one overtime win and three — count 'em, three — shootout victories in that stretch. (Editor Note: Some Flyers fans may not know exactly what a shootout victory is; we'll be more than happy to explain it if they ever get good at it.) Playing by 1975-76 rules, the Red Wings streak would have ended at 12.

Rather that fete the old-time Bruins or this year's Red Wings, we'd prefer to give kudos to the 1970-71 Bruins, who managed a 19-game home winning streak without an OT. And even their streak was bookended by duds. It started after a 2-1 loss to a California Golden Seals team that would finish 33 games under .500 and was ended by a 4-4 tie with a Minnesota North Stars team that was five games under .500 at the time.

The Flyers outscored their 20 consecutive Spectrum victims by a margin of 106-33, and 17 of the 20 wins were by more than a single goal. Both the 1929-30 Bruins and the 2011-12 Red Wings had six one-game decisions in their 20-game stretch, and neither was able to reach triple digits in the goal-scoring column.

And how's this for a cherry on top? Remember that the Flyers' 4-1 dismantling of the Soviet Union Red Army team (considered one of the greatest hockey teams ever assembled) occurred between the second and third games of their stretch.

So, I say, let's just throw out the record book on this one and state quite matter-of-factly that the 1975-76 Flyers had the longest sustained home excellence in the history of the NHL.

Let's see you asterisk that!

Bob Vetrone Jr.
About this blog

Boop – who goes by Bob Vetrone Jr. when he is undercover or paying bills – has been at the Daily News since 1982, after working for five years at the Philadelphia Bulletin up to its closing. Along with helping to build the sports scoreboards most nights, he has had great input into the papers’ special sports pullouts – March Madness, Broad Street Run, Record Breakers, Greatest Moments – as well as its day-to-day, award-winning event coverage.

A 1980 graduate of North Catholic, he took some evening college courses. Those lasted right up until the first conflict with a Big 5 doubleheader.

His favorite books growing up were the NBA Guide and the Baseball Encyclopedia, which was, for all intents and purposes, the Internet before there was an Internet.

He has been immersed in sports statistics since the early 70s, when his father (long-time sports writer, broadcaster and the Daily News’ Buck The Bartender), would take him into the Bulletin newsroom overnight in the summer and let him update the Phillies statistics in a little, black spiral notebook. But things have changed tremendously in the decades since … He now uses a big, black spiral notebook.

To listen to Boop on 94WIP, click here.

Reach Bob at vetronb@phillynews.com.

Bob Vetrone Jr.
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