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Too many to not enough: the five biggest shutout blowouts of the past 35 years

The Columbus Blue Jackets dismantling of the Montreal Canadiens has the hockey world talking, and it ranks up there with some of the other historically lopsided games.

When the Columbus Blue Jackets scored their fourth or fifth goal on the Montreal Canadiens Friday night, a number of those watching the game likely stopped paying quite as much attention. After all, at that point, it wasn’t much of a game.

But as the Blue Jackets continued to score — and continued to creep closer to cracking double digits — you can rest assured that many of those same people who decided to stop watching tuned back in, just to see if Columbus could actually add a digit to the score board and put up a 10th goal.

That goal did come off the stick of Josh Anderson, who had potted his second of the night, and when the final horn sounded, the Blue Jackets hadn’t just hung 10 on the Canadiens, they had done so in shutout fashion. Sergei Bobrovsky hadn’t allowed a single goal on the 30 shots he faced.

The Blue Jackets aren’t the only team in league history to so soundly defeat an opponent, though. In fact, the feat was last achieved by the Calgary Flames in 1995-96 when they beatdown the Tampa Bay Lightning 10-0, and teams have handed out defeats even bigger than Columbus’ and Calgary’s over the past 30-plus years. Here are the five biggest and most recent shutout blowouts:

Calgary Flames 11 - Colorado Rockies 0 — April 1, 1982

The NHL’s first foray into Colorado wasn’t as successful as the second time around with the present-day Avalanche, but the team did have a perfect sendoff for its fans with a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames in their final game in existence. However, most will better remember the club’s penultimate game, which was an absolute embarrassment by the Flames.

To make matters worse, a former Rockies star was one of the catalysts of the beatdown. Colorado had shipped Lanny McDonald to Calgary earlier in the 1981-82, and he helped put one of the final nails in the team’s coffin with a hat trick on the evening.

Hartford Whalers 11 - Edmonton Oilers 0 — Feb. 12, 1984

The 1983-84 Oilers were a team of destiny, one that would bring Edmonton its first Stanley Cup and usher in an era of utter dominance with a roster that included the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri and Paul Coffey. But it was also a team that, on one special night in February, had its doors blown right off the hinges by the…Hartford Whalers?

The Whalers were one of the league’s worst teams that season, but everything went perfectly in the Feb. 12 meeting between Hartford and Edmonton. Ron Francis scored two goals in the opening four minutes and four total goals, Greg Malone netted a hat trick and goaltender Greg Millen pitched a 28-save perfect game.

There is one important note about the game, however. The Oilers were Gretzky-less for the outing. There’s no telling what difference he could have made, but maybe ‘The Great One’ could have helped keep the goals against below double digits.

Edmonton Oilers 13 - Vancouver Canucks 0 — Nov. 8, 1985

Wayne Gretzky scored 52 goals and 215 points during the 1985-86 season. Amazingly, though, he factored in on less than half the goals in what was an absolute dismantling of the Canucks in the early part of the campaign. In fact, he didn’t manage a single goal and had a “measly” four assists in the victory. That said, Gretzky finished the game with 36 points in 14 games, so maybe he just wanted to take a night off.

The onslaught started early for the Oilers, who scored on their first shot of the game, and it was Canucks netminder Frank Caprice — who had a .819 save percentage in 1985-86 — who was lit up that night. The star of the outing was Dave Lumley, who managed a five-point night with a hat trick and two helpers, while Andy Moog pitched a shutout.

Detroit Red Wings 12 - Chicago Blackhawks 0 — Dec. 4, 1987

The rivalry between the Red Wings and Blackhawks had slowed throughout the 1970s and into the early 1980s, but it picked right back up again when the two teams went head-to-head in Norris Division. That’s why, unlike any other loss on this list, the Red Wings’ blowout of the Blackhawks probably stung the losing side the most.

Mere months after being ousted by Detroit in four straight games in the opening round of the playoffs, Chicago had won the first two matchups between the rivals to start the 1987-88 campaign, and thus skated into Joe Louis Arena looking to exact some more revenge and take a 3-0 lead in the season series.

Well, four points from Steve Yzerman later, and the Blackhawks were simply waiting for the contest to end. All but three Red Wings registered a point on the night, Chicago’s goaltending duo of Darren Pang and Bob Mason surrendered 12 goals on 45 shots and Detroit netminder Greg Stefan got to relax and turn aside 19 pucks for the clean sheet.

Vancouver Canucks 11 - Calgary Flames 0 — March 1, 1992

The Canucks were building toward something under coach Pat Quinn, and on no night was the potential of the up-and-coming Vancouver squad more apparent than in the team’s thrashing of the division-rival Flames as the season wound down.

Goals came early and often for the Canucks and five players put up at least three points in the evening, with Sergio Momesso leading the way with two goals and four points in the victory. Momesso was one of three players, along with Trevor Linden and Garry Valk, to put up multiple tallies, but no one managed a hat trick on the night.

What’s maybe most interesting about the defeat is that, on the basis of shots alone, this is one of the few blowout victories of its kind where the winning goaltender was actually tested quite often and a big part of the win. Kirk McLean stopped all 30 shots he faced in the game, and he had a heavier workload than the two Flames goaltenders combined. Mike Vernon allowed three goals on six shots before Jeff Reese “cleaned up” with eight against on 22 shots.

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