The Carolina Hurricanes have been bumped from playoff position in the Eastern Conference. The Philadelphia Flyers, meanwhile, are certainly in no danger of losing their place in the standings.
The Hurricanes look to move into a three-way tie for seventh place in the East on Wednesday night when they face a Flyers team that is a lock to finish in last place in the conference.
Carolina (38-30-8) was in a three-way tie for eighth place in the East going into Tuesday's games, but lost 6-1 at Toronto and fell to ninth with Montreal's win over the New York Rangers. The Hurricanes, though, can move back into a tie with the Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning - both of which are idle Wednesday - with a win over the Flyers.
After having their three-game winning streak come to an end, the reigning Stanley Cup champions have six games left to find a way into the postseason. Carolina defenseman Mike Commodore, though, said the team isn't feeling pressure to get back into the playoffs just to defend its title.
"We're not thinking we got to make the playoffs because we're the defending champions," he said. "We want to make the playoffs because that's what we're supposed to do. We weren't expected to miss the playoffs."
The Hurricanes are going to need better goaltending if they hope to make a run.
Cam Ward knocked one of Toronto's goals into his own net Tuesday, and last year's playoff MVP was replaced after allowing five goals on 19 shots. Three nights earlier, Ward gave up four goals in a win over San Jose.
He has also struggled in four career games against the Flyers (20-44-11), going 2-1-1 but with a 3.74 goals-against average. Ward gave up four goals on 18 shots in the Hurricanes' only loss to Philadelphia this season, 5-2 on Dec. 31.
Philadelphia has dropped its last four games - all in regulation - and has a league-low 51 points.
The Flyers could tie Washington for 14th place in the East if they win their remaining seven games and the Capitals lose their last five. Philadelphia, though, would lose the tie-breaker because it lost all four games in its season series with Washington.
All of the Flyers' remaining games are against Eastern Conference playoff contenders.
"We're going to play a lot of teams that are battling for playoff spots," Philadelphia forward Simon Gagne said. "That is going to be dangerous for us if we're not ready to play them early."
Jeff Carter, Randy Jones and Ben Eager scored Saturday for the Flyers, but they lost 4-3 to the New York Islanders.
Although this season is a lost cause, Philadelphia has settled on its No. 1 goalie for the future after signing Martin Biron to a two-year, $7 million contract on Tuesday.
Biron, who has been the regular goaltender since he was acquired from Buffalo for a second-round draft pick in late February, stopped 34 shots Saturday. He is 16-9-2 with a 3.01 GAA in 29 games this season, and 4-5-1 with a 2.96 GAA in 10 games with the Flyers.
Carolina has won two of three meetings with Philadelphia this season.