The longest winning streak in the history of the NHL was in progress 20 years ago today, when waves of power-skating Pittsburgh Penguins flashing the ancient colors of basic black and traffic-light gold piled up 17 victories without interruption.

Unless, of course, the longest winning streak in the history of the National Hockey League is in progress right here right now.

"I didn't even know the number," Brooks Orpik said a couple of minutes after a 1-0 shutout of Montreal made it 13 in a row for the here-and-now Penguins.

The company line is that "We're not getting ahead of ourselves," difficult as that may be. Still, the pace at which events are unfolding around this current generation of Penguins makes it hard to resist drawing potentially momentous conclusions.

Winning a 13th consecutive Tuesday night has one set of implications, but gaining significant personnel augmentations through the aggressive management of general manager Ray Shero seemed to license a whole other set of implications that are even broader.

So veteran winger Brenden Morrow, acquired a week ahead of the trade deadline from Dallas, made his Penguins debut Tuesday night, and accomplished defensive beast Douglas Murray, acquired 24 hours later from San Jose, is likely ready to make his Thursday night, meaning the bulked up, fully functional Penguins might not be merely the hottest team in hockey, they might be ...

Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Perhaps we should first put any potential conclusions in order, starting with the status of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who left after almost two periods of what would become only the fourth combined shutout in franchise history.

"Hopefully, Flower's OK," said Sidney Crosby, whose 15th goal was all the scoring necessary for a hockey team playing defense like it rarely has in its history.

Can Crosby even remember a stretch in which the Penguins allowed only nine goals in nine games?

"No," he laughed. "It's the result of us focusing on it, and obviously we do, but I think you have to give a lot of credit to our goaltenders. We focus on it and try to do our best, but sometimes they've got to bail you out and they've done a heckuva job keeping pucks out of our net."