Imagine if the Cubs, or any MLB team for that matter, could match the Chicago Blackhawks’ NHL-record season-opening winning streak of 22 games, and counting.
Of course there’s one very big difference, that being the Blackhawks (19-0-3) technically haven’t lost a game in regulation. Three times they’ve fallen in a shootout this season.
With it unlikely baseball ever decides extra inning games with a home run derby contest, the comparison doesn’t add up. But for the sake of having a little fun, let’s do it anyway…
The longest winning streak in NHL history belongs to the 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers who won 35 consecutive games without suffering a regulation loss—a streak that began three-games into the season.
Until the Blackhawks’ magical run, the NHL’s previous longest season-opening winning streak was set by the Anaheim Might Ducks in 2006-07 with a run of 16 games without a regulation loss.
The longest winning streak in Major League Baseball still belongs to the New York Giants who won 26 consecutive games in 1916. Baseball’s longest season-opening winning streak, however, is 13-games, accomplished by the 1982 Atlanta Braves and later matched by the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers.
Another wrinkle with the Blackhawks’ streak is that it’s coming during a shortened regular season (48-games) due to the lengthy NHL lockout, which comes out to playing 58-percent of the league’s normal 82-game regular season schedule.
So percentage wise, the Hawks have completed roughly 45-percent of their shortened regular season without a regulation loss. If, however, we calculate this out to what would be a full-length regular season (82-games), the Blackhawks would be roughly 25-percent of the way through the campaign.
By baseball standards, a 162-game regular season schedule condensed to 58-percent would equal 94-games, thus meaning a baseball team would have to win its first 24-games to match the Blackhawks’ season-opening streak this year–which would basically double the longest season-opening winning streak ever to start a season (the Braves & Brewers, 13-games).
And when the numbers are punched out over an entire 162 game season, that season-opening winning streak, which would need to cover 25-percent of the season, would have to be roughly (40-0) to match the Blackhawks! Talk about incredible!
Professor of mathematical sciences at Bentley University in Waltham, Mass, Richard Cleary, suggests the probability of another NHL team matching the Blackhawks’ season-opening winning streak as once ever 700 years. The catch of course, is that every team only has one chance to start the season with a winning streak.
So what are the odds of a similar streak every happening in baseball? I have no idea, other than to guess it’s on the doorstep of impossible.
As a side note, the Cubs hold claim to the second-longest winning streak in baseball history (not to open a season) spanning 21-games, and, they’ve done it twice: June 5-July 8, 1880 & Sept. 4-Sept. 27, 1935.
As for the Cubs’ longest winning streak to open a season, that one I’m not sure of. But I’d be just fine settling for a win on opening day in 2013.