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The Senators prove an NHL season can be won or lost in just 11 games

In the 2009-10 season, the Ottawa Senators went on an unprecedented 11-game winning streak from January 14, 2010 to February 11, 2010. The streak catapulted the Senators up the standings, from eighth place in the East up in to fourth. It also proved to Bryan Murray that that team was playoff bound, and with a fairly open Eastern Conference at the time, pushed him into being a buyer at the trade deadline. One Feb. 12, after the streak had reached 11 games, Murray went out and acquired 11-year veteran Matt Cullen from the Carolina Hurricanes. On paper, the team didn't look like a serious contender, but on the ice, they were playing like one.

Almost exactly a calendar year later, though, and the opposite has happened. After plodding along for much of the first half of the season, and 11-game losing streak from January 14, 2011 to February 9, 2011 has sunken the Senators well out of the playoff picture, from 13th in the east (admittedly a poor position to begin with) right down to the bottom of the conference, and closing in quickly on last overall. That losing streak, above all, has proven to Murray, Eugene Melnyk, and the rest of team management that this team isn't, in fact, a contender, and that a a drastic rebuild of the organization is required to become truly competitive once again. On Feb. 11, after the streak had reached 11 games, the Senate Reform had begun in earnest: The team traded 11-year veteran Mike Fisher for nothing but draft picks, the trading currency of rebuilding teams.

The parallels are uncanny, if the directions were reversed.