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Winning Play: Every NHL Franchise’s Longest-Ever Road Trip



Credit: NBCS Bay Area

I’m not trying to make any excuses for the San Jose Sharks.

Logan Couture wouldn’t let me, anyway, saying after Thursday’s 6-2 loss in Los Angeles, the final game of San Jose’s franchise record 12-game road trip: “We got to go home. So it really wasn’t that long. We really would’ve liked to get more points from this trip. It’s an excuse that we’re not going to use. Maybe if we hadn’t gone home for the four or five days like we did, you could throw that out there. Tonight just wasn’t good enough and that has nothing to do with being on the road.”

That said, the Sharks did just endure the second-longest road trip in NHL history. Just out of curiosity — and how many “winning plays” could San Jose have made in a game that they lost by four goals anyway? — I looked up every franchise’s longest-ever road trip in the expansion era:

FranchiseLongest Road Trip (Record)Final RecordPlayoffs
Anaheim Ducks9 games, 2007-08 (5-3-1)47-27-8x
Arizona Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets8 games, 2014-15 (3-3-2)24-50-8
Boston Bruins8 games, 1997-98 (6-2-0)39-30-13x
Boston Bruins8 games, 1994-95 (4-2-2)27-18-3x
Buffalo Sabres7 games, 2011-12 (2-5-0)39-32-11
Buffalo Sabres7 games, 2010-11 (4-2-1)43-29-10x
Buffalo Sabres7 games, 2009-10 (2-3-2)45-27-10x
Buffalo Sabres7 games, 2007-08 (4-2-1)39-31-12
Calgary Flames/Atlanta Flames11 games, 1987-88 (5-5-1)48-23-9x
Carolina Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers9 games, 1999-00 (4-2-3-0)37-35-10-0
Chicago Blackhawks9 games, 2011-12 (2-6-1)45-26-11x
Chicago Blackhawks9 games, 1993-94 (4-5-0)39-36-9x
Colorado Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques9 games, 1980-81 (1-6-2)30-32-18x
Columbus Blue Jackets7 games, 2003-04 (2-3-2)25-45-8-4
Dallas Stars/Minnesota North Stars7 games, 2002-03 (2-3-2-0)46-17-15-4x
Detroit Red Wings7 games, 2016-17 (2-3-2)33-36-13
Detroit Red Wings7 games, 1971-72 (2-2-3)33-35-10
Detroit Red Wings7 games, 1967-68 (2-3-2)27-35-12
Detroit Red Wings7 games, 1967-68 (3-3-1)27-35-12
Edmonton Oilers9 games, 2013-14 (3-4-2)19-22-7x
Florida Panthers8 games, 1997-98 (0-5-3)24-43-15
Los Angeles Kings10 games, 2010-11 (6-1-3)46-30-6x
Minnesota Wild7 games, 2018-19 (5-2-0)37-36-9
Montreal Canadiens8 games, 2015-16 (2-6-0)38-38-6
Montreal Canadiens8 games, 1968-69 (6-1-1)46-19-11x
Nashville Predators7 games, 2013-14 (2-4-1)38-32-12
Nashville Predators7 games, 2002-03 (1-3-1-2)27-35-13-7
New Jersey Devils/Colorado Rockies/Kansas City Scouts9 games, 2007-08 (3-5-1)46-29-7x
New York Islanders9 games, 2016-17 (5-3-1)41-29-12
New York Rangers9 games, 2013-14 (3-6-0)45-31-6x
Ottawa Senators8 games, 2008-09 (1-6-1)36-35-11
Ottawa Senators8 games, 1993-94 (1-7-0)14-61-19
Philadelphia Flyers11 games, 2005-06 (8-2-1)45-26-11x
Pittsburgh Penguins8 games, 1997-98 (5-2-1)40-24-18x
San Jose Sharks12 games, 2020-21 (5-6-1)??
St. Louis Blues9 games, 2007-08 (1-6-2)33-36-13
Tampa Bay Lightning9 games, 1992-93 (1-8-0)23-54-7
Toronto Maple Leafs7 games, 2014-15 (2-5-0)30-44-8
Toronto Maple Leafs7 games, 2007-08 (2-3-2)36-35-11
Toronto Maple Leafs7 games, 1998-99 (4-2-1)45-30-7x
Toronto Maple Leafs7 games, 1979-80 (2-5-0)35-40-5x
Toronto Maple Leafs7 games, 1971-72 (0-7-0)33-31-14x
Toronto Maple Leafs7 games, 1968-69 (2-5-0)35-26-15x
Toronto Maple Leafs7 games, 1967-68 (1-5-1)33-31-10
Vancouver Canucks14 games, 2009-10 (8-5-1)49-28-5x
Vegas Golden Knights8 games, 2019-20 (4-3-1)39-24-8x
Washington Capitals8 games, 2002-03 (3-4-1-0)39-28-8-6x
Washington Capitals8 games, 2001-02 (5-3-0-0)36-33-11-2
Washington Capitals8 games, 1998-99 (2-6-0-0)31-45-6
Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers7 games, 2011-12 (3-2-2)37-35-10
Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers7 games, 2009-10 (0-5-2)35-34-13
Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers7 games, 2007-08 (4-3-0-0)34-40-8
Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers7 games, 2003-04 (3-4-0-0)33-37-8-4
Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers7 games, 2002-03 (2-3-2-0)31-39-7-5
Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers7 games, 2001-02 (0-7-0-0)19-47-11-5

Some observations:

  • Well, at least the 2020-21 San Jose Sharks aren’t the 1997-98 Florida Panthers, 1971-72 Toronto Maple Leafs, 2009-10 Atlanta Thrashers, or 2001-02 Thrashers. Those four teams failed to win a game during extended road trips.
  • Good news for Sharks fans: 13 of the 24 playoff squads on this list had losing records on their franchise-record jaunts and still made the post-season.
  • There are two Cup finalists on this list, the 1968-69 Montreal Canadiens and the 2013-14 New York Rangers. The 1969 Canadiens are the lone Stanley Cup champion.
  • Remarkably, San Jose also has a 10-game road trip on their franchise ledger, eclipsed by this season’s dozen. That February 1999 road trip is still the longest uninterrupted run in league history: The 2020-21 Sharks got to go home for a few days, the 2010-11 Kings went back to Los Angeles in the middle of their Grammys trip, the 2009-10 Canucks enjoyed the Olympic break, the 2005-06 Flyers had Christmas in Philly, and the 1987-88 Flames got to go home during the All-Star break. The 1998-99 San Jose Sharks, however, slugged through four time zones and two back-to-backs to earn a 4-5-1 record in 17 days. They would qualify for the post-season.
  • Shockingly, the four-year-old Vegas Golden Knights have had a longer road trip than two Original Six franchises, the Detroit Red Wings and the Maple Leafs, at least in the expansion era.
  • Funny enough, however, the 1967-68 Red Wings had a pair of seven-game roadies in the same season.

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