A- Streaking They’ll go, but what does that mean?

You can come up with any descriptive word you like – snowball, collect, plural, the word most often associated with sports, or calligraphy. It certainly applies to a bunch of NHL teams through and through First Quarter out of season, and the Pittsburgh Birds are no exception.

Teams are stacking wins or stacking losses together, sometimes series after series, at a remarkable rate.

what does that mean?

“It just goes to show how equal everyone is,” Penguins defenseman Marcus Peterson showed Thursday after the team practiced at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

The Penguins started out 4-0-1 with visions of the Stanley Cup dancing in some people’s heads. Then came a seven-game skid (0-6-1) and some of those guys turned on Scrooge. (That’s right, Thanksgiving Christmas metaphors.)

For those trying to keep up, they’ve followed that up with their current four-match winning streak, including all their happy moments with Evgeny Malkin.

Consider the Penguins Wednesday discount. Calgary started 5-1-0, then slid 0-5-2, and now it’s 4-1-1. penguins beat Flames 2-1 in a penalty shootout.

Then there’s the Penguin opponent on Friday at a national TNT game. Struggling with injuries, the Philadelphia Flyers have lost eight straight points (0-5-3), the latest being a 3-2 overtime loss in Washington where Alex Ovechkin daggered.

There is no Flyers without Scott Lawton, Wade Allison, James Van Riemsdyk and Sean Couturier, who have not played this season, Cam Atkinson, who has not played this season, and Travis Konechney, who is expected to be out for more than a week.

Even on a day like Thanksgiving, it seems likely that quite a few Penguins fans wouldn’t feel sorry for the Flyers slipping up for any reason—even if the Flyers did feel a little sorry themselves.

“At this point, we’re finding ways to lose,” Philadelphia defender Ivan Provorov said after the loss to the Capitals. “We have to stop that.”

That’s the thing with streaks, winning and losing. They can be difficult to explain, and difficult to either stop or continue, depending on the flavor of the line.

“I think the confidence lies in that,” said Penguin winger Danton Heinen. “When things are going right, you have this feeling in the (locker) room that you’re going to get the games out and trust that you’re going to play the right way and win games.

“There are no easy games, so it’s not easy to get out of it. It’s exciting to see that this year.”

Peterson also pointed to some other notable streaks so far this year that have stood out. New Jersey snapped a 13-game winning streak Wednesday by Toronto, and Vancouver endured a seven-game winning streak (0-5-2) to open the season.

Hockey players—athletes in general—like to talk about not having an extreme emotional high or low during the season, but strips can test that out.

“Sure, but losses are harder than wins,” Peterson said. “It’s a long season, you’ll try to stay up to par.”

Or, as Penguins winger Brock McGinn put it succinctly, “Obviously, when you win things are a lot better, and when you lose they aren’t.”

Streaks can also lead to the intangible feeling that the team is worthy.

As in, the bowling team is set to win, or the team that swings is set to falter in wins.

“Yes,” Heinin said. “A lot of times (losing) teams go on streaks and don’t get a bounce. You might be playing well and things don’t go your way, and then there’s one game where everything is going to come down to it.”

The penguins hope, of course, that this is not where the pilots are at at this point, and at the same time they hope that they do not deserve a disappointment.

“It can work both ways,” Heinen said. “Teams are hot, you expect the best from them. Teams are struggling, and you expect the best from them too, because they want to get out of that.”

The Penguins are in a position that doesn’t change much because the Hockey Gods, if there are any such things, have them on the more fun side of the equation.

“Right now we’re trying to go out and play the same game every night, no matter who we play against, and I think we get better as we get here, grow as a team and start to connect with things that maybe we weren’t connected during the losing streak,” McGinn said.

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