Bruce Boudreau knows a thing or two about winning streaks.

He coached Washington’s 14-game run in 2010, Anaheim’s 11-gamer last season and Minnesota’s 12-gamer in December. A hockey savant behind the bench, Boudreau sees a winning streak as a bell curve – and the end isn’t pretty.

“At the end of a winning streak, you’re usually not playing very well and it takes a while to get back to your game,” Boudreau said. “Once you lose and the hurriedness or of the fact that it’s a winning streak (ends), you still keep going down a little bit until you build it back up through practice and determination, really. That’s why losing streaks follow winning streaks in almost every sport.”

The Capitals, Blue Jackets and Flyers can nod their heads knowingly.

The teams with the longest winning streaks this season have for the most part struggled after them, except for Boudreau’s Wild, who are one point back of the top spot in the Western Conference.

Washington has lost 10 of 26 since its nine-game streak, Columbus has lost 15 of 32 since winning 16 in a row and Philadelphia has lost 24 of 36 and fallen out of contention since its 10-game run that now feels like ancient history.

Coach John Tortorella’s Blue Jackets came one victory short of tying the NHL record for the longest winning streak, and on the night it ended, he said he’d judge his team by what came next. It wasn’t always smooth, but Columbus is back playing its game with less than a month until the playoffs begin.

“Two or three weeks ago, we had some struggles, and I thought that was one where I really liked the way the room reacted,” Tortorella said. “They grabbed a hold of themselves and I think they managed that part of the year not to lose three or four in a row.”

The Capitals are trying to grab a hold of themselves after an 0-for-California road trip and their first four-game skid since November 2015. Their home winning streak ended at 15 last week, and their lead over the defending Stanley Cup-champion Pittsburgh Penguins is down to two points.

The comedown from a winning streak is a time-honored hockey tradition that Troy Loney thinks may have cost the 1992-93 Penguins a third straight Stanley Cup. That was the most talented group following back-to-back titles, and it won 17 consecutive games just before the playoffs started. Pittsburgh couldn’t recapture that form and lost in the second round.

“It takes a lot emotionally, physically and mentally to ride a streak like that,” Loney said. “We couldn’t find the gear consistently.”


FLYERS 4, PENGUINS 0:  Wayne Simmonds scored his 200th career goal and Steve Mason made 23 saves as Philadelphia beat visiting Pittsburgh.

Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux and Dale Weise also scored for the Flyers, who closed within five points of the idle New York Islanders for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

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