The Atlanta Thrashers and Tampa Bay Lightning have been two of the league's worst teams this season. They're certainly playing the part down the stretch.
Losers of three straight, the Thrashers look to deal the Lightning their ninth consecutive defeat in the teams' season finale Saturday night.
Tampa Bay (24-39-18), the only club that will finish below Atlanta (34-41-6) in the Southeast Division, has lost eight straight and 11 of 12. The Lightning are in danger of matching their longest skid of the season, set from Nov. 23-Dec. 10.
"It's been a long season," promising Tampa Bay rookie Steven Stamkos said. "Hopefully we can learn from this season. Learn how it feels to lose and hopefully not have that feeling ever again."
Only the New York Islanders will end up with fewer points this season than the Lightning, who will miss the playoffs for the second straight season after a four-year postseason run that included a Stanley Cup in 2004.
Atlanta, meanwhile, has been left out of the playoffs for the eighth time in nine seasons since entering the league. The Thrashers, who will finish 13th in the Eastern Conference, have suffered three straight regulation losses.
Zach Bogosian has been one of Atlanta's few bright spots. He scored twice in the Thrashers' 3-2 loss to Florida on Thursday night.
Atlanta failed to convert 21 straight power-play opportunities before Bogosian scored his first goal.
Bogosian, 18, leads all rookie defensemen in goals (nine) despite playing just 46 games. He also has nine assists since being called up from Chicago of the AHL on Jan. 13.
"He's playing real well," Thrashers leading scorer and captain Ilya Kovalchuk said. "He's got some confidence. He's skating with the puck, and he knows how to skate, so he'll be scary good in a couple of years."
Bogosian was the third overall pick in last year's draft, when Stamkos was selected No. 1 overall. Stamkos set a Tampa Bay rookie record with his 22nd goal in a 4-2 loss to Washington on Thursday night.
The 19-year-old center had shared the record with Brad Richards, who had 21 goals in 2000-01. Stamkos has settled down after struggling early in the season, posting 26 points (16 goals, 10 assists) in his last 29 games.
"He's obviously a goal scorer," Lightning interim coach Rick Tocchet told the team's official Web site. "He's got a great shot and great hands. Can you imagine if he continues playing the way he's played in the last two months?"
Stamkos had two goals in a 4-3 shootout loss to Atlanta on March 21 as the Thrashers took a 3-1-1 lead in the season series.
Tampa Bay will have another high draft pick, no lower than third, after a terrible season due partly to injuries.
The Lightning recalled defenseman Kevin Quick from Norfolk of the AHL prior to Thursday's contest, and he became the 22nd different defenseman used by the team this season. Tampa Bay has used 50 players overall, five short of the NHL single-season record set by Boston in 1991-92.