February 24, 2024

Edmonton Oilers could join longest sports winning streaks


The Edmonton Oilers might never lose again.

At least that’s how it appears right now, as they’re on a 16-game winning streak heading into their game against the Vegas Golden Knights (10 p.m. ET, Hulu/ESPN+). If they win, they’ll tie the all-time NHL record of 17, set by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins — and they’ll have a chance to break the record against the Anaheim Ducks on Feb. 9.

It’s a massive turnaround for the Oilers, who lost 10 of their first 12 games and were only 13-15-1 before the streak started. They’re third in the Pacific Division and seem to have unlocked their full potential in what’s proving to be a magical season.

With the Oilers looking to make history, we were reminded of other greatest single-season winning streaks across sports.

NHL: 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins (17 games)

The Penguins missed Mario Lemieux for part of the season because of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but his return inspired them to greatness. Lemieux had 51 points during the Penguins’ streak — 20 more than Adam Oates, the next-highest player. Pittsburgh scored 10 goals in a game twice in that span, with Lemieux contributing five goals in their 10-4 win against the New York Rangers. The streak ended with a 6-6 OT tie against the New Jersey Devils in the regular-season finale. Pittsburgh went on to be upset by the New York Islanders in a seven-game second-round playoff series.

Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich — the ’71-’72 Lakers were loaded with legends, and it showed. Los Angeles averaged 123.3 points per game during their streak, the most in the NBA at the time. They won 8 games by 20+ points, 2 by 40+ points, and 23 in total by double digits. Strangely, the loss that broke the streak — a 120-104 defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks — actually sparked a 2-4 skid. But it was just a blip on the radar — the Lakers went 69-13, a mark that would stand until the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls went 72-10, and won an NBA title in five games.

What happens when you pair Tom Brady and Randy Moss on the same team? Greatness, bordering on absurdity. Moss caught 23 touchdown passes from Brady, breaking Jerry Rice’s record of 22. Brady became the first quarterback ever to throw for 50 touchdowns in a season. The Patriots as a whole scored 589 points, a record that would stand until the 2013 Broncos surpassed it with 606. Unfortunately for Patriots fans, this season is more known for how it ended, with a stunning loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.

The Spider caught a lot of flies in his incredible UFC career. He hit the ground running, winning his first 16 matches in stylish and epic fashion. Silva had 10 straight title defenses during this period, the second-longest streak in UFC history behind Demetrious Johnson. He beat Rich Franklin and Chael Sonnen twice each, along with wins over Forrest Griffin and Vitor Belfort. Silva eventually lost in spectacular fashion against Chris Weidman, ending his streak.

Lisa Leslie went off during the Sparks’ dominant run, averaging 21.2 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 2.8 APG. The Sparks, as a whole, averaged 80 PPG during the streak, almost nine points higher than the next-best team (Sacramento Monarchs at 71.6). Their point differential of 11.8 was over 5 points per game better than any other team in that span. Their streak ended in heartbreaking fashion, with Adrienne Goodson hitting a go-ahead shot with .1 seconds remaining to give the Utah Starzz an 80-78 win.

College football: 1894 Yale Bulldogs(16-0)

We have to go all the way back to the 19th century for this one. The Bulldogs outscored their opponents an astounding 485-13 during the streak, shutting out 13 of their 16 opponents. George Adee, their starting quarterback, is also a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. If you’re looking for more modern streaks, the 2018 Clemson Tigers, 2019 LSU Tigers, 2022 Georgia Bulldogs and 2023 Michigan Wolverines all went 15-0.

Women’s college basketball: 2011-12 Baylor Bears and 2013-14 UConn Huskies (40 games)

While there have been other undefeated seasons in women’s college basketball, no other team accomplished the feat in a 40-game season like Baylor and UConn did. A special note for the Huskies — their 2013-14 undefeated campaign was part of a larger undefeated run of 111 games that lasted from Nov. 23, 2014, to March 27, 2017.

Men’s college basketball: 2014-15 Kentucky Wildcats (38 games)

This team was loaded with future NBA talent. Nine players on the Wildcats’ roster later played in the NBA, including Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, Willie Cauley-Stein and Trey Lyles. They tied the single-season Division I record for wins in a season with the 2012 Kentucky squad and 2008 Memphis Tigers (later vacated). All of those teams were coached by John Calipari, by the by. Their only loss came against the Wisconsin Badgers in the Final Four.

Five of Nelson’s 11 wins came by at least 5 shots. One of his wins was the 1945 PGA Championship — the lone major played that season because of World War II. The longest streak since Nelson’s feat? Tiger Woods, with seven straight wins in 2006-7.



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