Florida Panthers

Jaromir Jagr impressed with the Blue Jackets as they chase Pittsburgh’s NHL record

Florida’s Bill Lindsay wraps up Jaromir Jagr in front of goalie Sean Burke during a game at Pittsburgh in 1998.
Florida’s Bill Lindsay wraps up Jaromir Jagr in front of goalie Sean Burke during a game at Pittsburgh in 1998. AP

Jaromir Jagr is one of the few people who know exactly how the Columbus Blue Jackets are feeling today.

Jagr was an integral part of the Pittsburgh Penguins setting the NHL record with 17 consecutive victories at the end of the 1992-93 season as he scored 10 goals with 14 assists during that run.

On Tuesday night, the Blue Jackets pulled within a victory of tying Jagr’s Penguins as Columbus beat Edmonton for its 16th consecutive win.

“It was a long time ago and you don’t think about it [as it’s happening] you just keep playing,” Jagr said.

“Your confidence keeps building, you’re having fun and you just enjoy it. Confidence is a big part of a streak.”

Columbus, which started its streak after losing to the Panthers 2-1 in a shootout on Nov. 26 in what would be Gerard Gallant’s final win as Florida’s head coach, can tie the record Thursday night in Washington against the Capitals.

Jagr, whose Panthers won 12 consecutive games last year before losing in Vancouver, says he is impressed with what the Jackets have done so far.

“With a streak like that, as long as it is, it’s impressive,” Jagr said following Florida’s morning skate Wednesday prior to its game against the Winnipeg Jets.

“Eighty-two games is a long schedule and you have to find extra motivation to play like it’s the playoffs. That’s to their advantage; they treat every game like it’s Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. That’s the way it should be all the time, but with a long schedule, that’s tough to do.

“This streak gives them the extra motivation to beat our streak. They’re a very good team.”

Jagr didn’t mention the differences in how the two teams went about their long winning streaks as his Penguins didn’t have the benefit of shootouts. If a game was tied following the five-minute overtime, it ended as a tie.

And, that’s how the Penguins’ streak met its end. In the final game of the 1992-93 season, Pittsburgh and the Devils ended in a 6-6 draw.

Columbus has a pair of shootout wins during this streak including one which gave it three consecutive wins.

Jagr says if Columbus breaks Pittsburgh’s record, well, that gives the Panthers something to shoot for.

“If they break it, then our team has extra motivation to beat it,” Jagr said.

“We’re just waiting for them to see how far they can go.”

Wednesday: Jets at Panthers

When/where: 7 p.m.; BB&T Center, Sunrise.

TV/radio: FSFL; WQAM 560, WMYM 990.

Series: Winnipeg/Atlanta leads 46-35-5.

Scouting report: The host Jets snapped a four-game slide by beating the Panthers 4-3 in a shootout on Dec. 15. Florida, which plays its next three at home, will start Roberto Luongo in goal. Winnipeg is playing its second game in as many nights after beating the host Lightning on Tuesday.