The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-0 on Thursday to extend their season-high winning streak to 14 games.
The Eastern Conference leading Penguins have tied the 2009-10 Washington Capitals for the longest winning streak in the shootout era and the third longest in NHL history.
Only the 1992-93 Penguins (17 straight wins) and the 1981-82 New York Islanders (15 straight wins) had more wins in succession.
Very much like the 2009-10 Capitals, the Penguins are also entering the stretch run of the regular-season with a few more bodies along for the ride.
Within the last week, in three separate trades, the Penguins have acquired Dallas Stars captain Brendan Morrow, San Jose Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray and Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla.
In exchange for Morrow, Murray and Iginla- three players that come to Pittsburgh with more than 2,500 NHL games between them- the Penguins gave up three prospects and four draft picks (they also acquired a draft pick in the Morrow trade).
“I’ve seen teams try that before,” said Capitals forward Brooks Laich. “Other teams have loaded up and sometimes it can disrupt chemistry.”
Laich didn’t care to elaborate on the Penguins trades specifically, but the longest tenured Capital has seen players come to D.C. in waves prior to Trade Deadlines past- only to produce mixed results.
In 2008, the Capitals traded for Sergei Fedorov, Matt Cooke and Cristobal Huet; in 2010, Eric Belanger, Scott Walker, Joe Corvo and Milan Jurcina all made their way to D.C.; in 2011 the Caps acquired veterans Jason Arnott, Dennis Wideman and Marco Sturm.
The Capitals won the Southeast Division all three years, but didn’t win a single game beyond the first-round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
A key element to all three years is that despite a combined ten players joining the Capitals for the stretch run, only three players from the active roster were traded away.
While the Penguins are adding top-tier talent, Morrow, Murray and Iginla are joining a star-studded lineup that also saw Evgeni Malkin return to the lineup Thursday after missing nine games with injury. Clearly some players are going to see their roles changed and others their ice-time reduced.
“It is tough to see someone come in and take your spot,” defenseman Karl Alzner said of the potential challenges with adding multiple players before the Trade Deadline.
“You hope that everyone is in it to win it and doesn’t care about that and just cares about the end result. But it can be tough and it may be easier said than done. It can create ripples in the dressing room and you don’t want that. That’s why being the GM, and having scouts who will bring in the right guys, is so important- you have to know the guys that are there are for all the right reasons.”