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Locally reducing the width of a wide photonic crystal (PhC) waveguide generates a constriction which acts as an internal reflector. We have simulated and measured the spectral behavior of a wide PhC waveguide locally constricted to a narrower PhC waveguide and ended by two cleaved facets, thus generating two coupled cavities. Passive structures as well as electrically injected active structures have been investigated. The multimode behavior of wide PhC waveguides is evidenced to play a deciding role. Modal reflection and transmission at the constriction are simulated and measured on passive PhC waveguides, when varying the constrictions' hole size and length. The spectral behavior of full-PhC electrically pumped lasers including such a constriction is measured and analyzed according to the constriction geometry. Design rules are finally proposed to take advantage of this coupled-cavities behavior for high rejection and high external efficiency monomode laser operation.