The Columbus Blue Jackets haven’t lost a game since Nov. 26.
The Minnesota Wild haven’t lost a game since Dec. 2.
On the last day of 2016, these two unexpected juggernauts will put their respective winning streaks on the line in a game in Minnesota: The Blue Jackets, who extended their winning streak to 14 games with a 6-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night, against the Wild, who won their 12th straight over the New York Islanders, 6-4.
The New Year’s Eve game will be the first time in NHL history – and remember, next year is the centennial – that two teams with winning streaks of over seven straight games will meet.
More importantly: This is the first time in NHL history that two teams have had winning streaks of greater than 12 games at the same time, as noted by Michael Russo per the Elias Sports Bureau.
Both teams had somewhat uncharacteristic wins on Thursday night.
The Blue Jackets had their usual success on the power play, scoring twice on four chances – they were clicking at 27.1 percent entering the game. But the No. 11 PK in the NHL (82.8 percent) gave up to power-play goals to the Jets, who have the third-worst man advantage in the NHL.
They also gave up 34 shots to the Jets, well ahead of their season average (29.0) to opponents. Sergei Bobrovsky gave up three goals for only the second time this month.
But a win is a win, and the Blue Jackets have 14 straight.
The Wild had … well, a wild one.
The Islanders led 2-1 in the second period when the Wild scored three goals in 1:20 – Chris Stewart, Jared Spurgeon and Jordan Schroeder had the tallies.
The Islanders roared back to tie the game in the third on two goals by Minnesota native Brock Nelson, scored in just 42 seconds. Devan Dubnyk, the NHL’s top goaltender this season, struggled in giving up four goals on 28 shots – the first time he’s allowed more than three goals this season.
But Erik Haula scored at 10:30 of the third to give the Wild the lead again, and eventually their 13th straight win.
So the two hottest teams in the NHL collide on New Year’s Eve: The League-leading Blue Jackets, with a plus-48 goal differential, and the Wild, with a plus-39 goal differential. You know, just like we all expected.
Hopefully hockey fans find a way to tune in for this one, which one cheeky Redditor has already dubbed The Unsustainabowl.
MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY