A pair of teams that won't be participating in the Eastern Conference playoffs will meet Saturday in Raleigh, as the Carolina Hurricanes host the Philadelphia Flyers at PNC Arena.
Carolina was officially eliminated from the playoff race on Thursday, while he Flyers were mathematically disqualified from postseason contention following the New York Rangers' win in Buffalo on Friday night.
Philadelphia had won two in a row before its playoff chances took a near- critical blow in Thursday's 3-0 home loss to the New Jersey Devils. Despite carrying a 10-game losing streak into the game, the Devils were able to snap the slide and move one point ahead of Philadelphia for 11th place in the East standings.
Martin Brodeur turned aside 23 shots for the 121st shutout of his career and 11th lifetime blanking of the Flyers. It was New Jersey's first win since March 23rd.
Ilya Bryzgalov gave up two goals on 30 shots for the Flyers, who have been shut out four times this season and twice over their last four games.
"Well you know what, it's a disappointing season," said Flyers captain Claude Giroux. "There's still a couple games left but it's frustrating the way we played this game. They won more battles than us, that's the thing."
Saturday's test is Philadelphia's second-to-last road game of the season. The Flyers, who are 6-15-1 as the guest, will host their next two games against Boston and the New York Islanders before capping their schedule next Saturday in Ottawa.
Carolina enters today having lost two straight, nine of 10 and 16 of its last 18 games.
The Hurricanes were handed an overtime loss in Thursday's game in Winnipeg, as Dustin Byfuglien scored 1:23 into the extra session to lift the Jets to the 4-3 home decision at MTS Centre. Byfuglien initially trailed a 2-on-1 opportunity with Andrew Ladd and it paid off, as Ladd's shot deflected off Carolina netminder Justin Peters left pad and Byfuglien easily put the disc home for the win.
Tuomo Ruutu scored twice, Alexander Semin added another goal and Jordan Staal had two assists for the Hurricanes, who were officially eliminated from playoff contention with the loss. Peters allowed all four Winnipeg goals on 31 shots in the setback.
"Well you know I've been saying it for a while, the way our guys have been playing we haven't got the breaks or the results that we honestly really deserve in our performance in the last, you know, three four weeks," said Carolina head coach Kirk Muller. "And so it's unfortunate because I'm really proud of the guys the way they've been battling, playing hard, playing well, and you now when it does change they're going to get rewarded and it'll pay off somewhere along the line."
Carolina has five games left in the season and three of its next four contests are in Raleigh, where the team is 8-13-0 this season.
The Flyers have won three straight, five of six and 14 of the last 16 meetings with the Hurricanes. Philly also has taken two in a row and nine of 10 at PNC Arena.