The Detroit Red Wings are on the cusp of making it 23 consecutive seasons in the NHL playoffs. That’s the longest active streak and ranks fifth all-time, just six seasons behind the Boston Bruins.
Detroit’s come-from-behind victory over the pace-setting Boston Bruins last night all but secured a playoff spot for the Red Wings. Sportsclubstats.com has Detroit’s playoff chances at 93.7 percent after the win.
If and when the Red Wings lock down a playoff position, they’ll have extended their consecutive season playoff streak to 23 years. That’s the best active streak in the NHL and fifth longest of all-time. The Bruins (1967 to 1996) are the gold standard at 29 seasons, followed by the Chicago Blackhawks (1969 to 1997) at 28 seasons, St. Louis Blues (1978-2004) at 25 seasons and Montreal Canadiens (1970 to 1994) at 24 seasons.
The oldest current Detroit player, 39-year-old Todd Bertuzzi, was a 14-year-old bantam player in Sudbury, Ont., the last time the Red Wings missed the playoffs.
The longest active streak after Detroit is San Jose, now at 10 seasons. Pittsburgh is next at eight seasons followed by Boston and Chicago at six seasons. If the Washington Capitals can rally and make the playoffs, they’ll also be at six seasons.
The longest active playoff dryspell is Edmonton, now at eight seasons. The Winnipeg Jets are days away from making it seven seasons in a row, while Calgary and Carolina are at five seasons. If Columbus misses, the Blue Jackets will be at five seasons. If Dallas makes the playoffs, the Stars will end a streak of five seasons out of the post-season.
The Florida Panthers have the league’s longest all-time non-playoff streak at 10 seasons (2001 to 2011). New Jersey is next at nine seasons (1979 to 1987, the first four of which came in Colorado), followed by Boston (1960 to 1967) and Washington (1975 to 1982) at eight seasons. Calgary, Columbus, Detroit, the New York Islanders, New York Rangers and Toronto have all had playoff dryspells of seven seasons.
Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN