Here’s a tip of the helmet to the Blackhawks’ 11-game winning streak, which, given the fluky nature of the sport, is more impressive than it might sound.
In the NBA, the Warriors are going to win the vast majority of their games this season simply because they’re better than most anybody they play. In basketball, the superior team almost always wins in a best-of-seven series. That’s not the case in the NHL, where postseason upsets happen regularly.
In sports that use a round ball, better teams have more control of their fate. Basketball thus lends itself to longer streaks. Football, with an oblong ball, not as much. A puck? It skips, bounces, wobbles and rolls. It hits skates, goalposts, crossbars and teeth. In other words, forget about it.
Which brings us back to the Hawks, who should have been done in by a crazy bounce at least once in that 11-game stretch.
What’s the exchange rate of this streak? I think it’s worth about 28 straight NBA victories. The NHL record for consecutive victories is 17, by the 1992-93 Penguins, an accomplishment that had a much-higher degree of difficulty than the Lakers’ record 33 straight victories in the 1971-72 season.
The NFL record for consecutive victories is 21, over two seasons, by the Patriots in 2003 and 2004, including playoff games.
I’ll leave the algorithms to my math friends, but I don’t know how you’d factor in weird bounces of the puck – luck, in other words — while trying to figure out which streak carries more weight. I just know that what the Hawks have done is special on its own and relative to other sports. Of their 11 straight victories, nine have come in regulation. Only two have come during three-on-three overtime. That shows domination.
The Hawks are very good, and luck has been on their side during their streak. Even when they haven’t played well, they have won. That’s what great teams do.
Did I forget to mention baseball’s longest winning streak in the modern era? That would be 21, by the 1935 Cubs. They didn’t win the World Series that season. I’m guessing you knew that.