Flyers, Hurricanes trending in wrong direction

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- Two teams that are slumping at the wrong time meet Saturday night at PNC Arena, both with a degree of desperation.

The Philadelphia Flyers are in danger of dropping out of playoff position in the Eastern Conference. The Carolina Hurricanes have a challenging climb to snatch a playoff spot.

"Obviously the sense of urgency now has to be amped up regardless where we're at," Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald said.

Philadelphia is 1-6-1 this month, beginning with a 4-1 home loss to Carolina.

The Hurricanes are 1-4-0 across their last five games. Carolina has allowed six goals in three of its last six games.

"We are in a hole right now," Hurricanes forward Lee Stempniak said. "We still think we are going to make the playoffs and we believe we can, but it gets harder with each loss."

The Flyers have 10 more points than the Hurricanes, so they're in better shape in terms of playoff position, though their margin for error has been considerably sliced.

"We have 11 games left, we're there right now so obviously if we can take care of business down the stretch here, we'll be fine," MacDonald said. "I think we just have to adjust and make sure we take care of things."

The Flyers believe there's much to be gained from the recent slide if the reaction is appropriate.

"I think the message is it is what it is, we're going to learn from it and then get better," said Philadelphia goalie Alex Lyon, who played in relief in Thursday night's home loss to Columbus.

By the end of February, the Flyers looked like they could contend for a top spot in the Metropolitan Division. Now, they're trying to hang on to a playoff bid, though the divisional title isn't out of reach.

"I think it's that time of year," coach Dave Hakstol said. "You always have to look at the reality of the situation. There's a dark side and a negative side. Then there's an opportunity side."

The Hurricanes haven't played since blowing a three-goal, third-period lead in the final 10 minutes of Tuesday night's 6-4 home loss to the Boston Bruins.

"It's hard to explain," Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk said. "I think we're a good team (but) our backs are against the wall. We're playing tight. We're not playing loose. We're probably not playing with confidence as a whole the last little while."

Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said the collapses are disturbing.

"It has happened too many times," Peters said. "... It's playoff-style hockey this time of the year and you have to play like that. ... There's ways to recover. We'll see if we're able to do it."

The Hurricanes did showcase some promise on special teams in the Boston game. They scored on the power play and had a short-handed goal in the same game for the second time this season.

Claude Giroux has an eight-game points streak for the Flyers, reflecting the third-longest stretch of his career.

Philadelphia has a back-to-back this weekend, with a home game Sunday against the Washington Capitals. Carolina also plays Sunday, visiting the New York Islanders.