The Eastern Conference standings, posted prominently in the Hurricanes' locker room, are a stark reminder.
As of this morning, the Canes are five points behind Florida and Buffalo, five points out of a playoff spot. Both the Panthers and Sabres scored shootout victories Friday night, picking up points, slipping further ahead.
"It's been the same thing for a couple of weeks now," defenseman Joe Corvo said today. "It's no big surprise.
"We need to get back on track and put some wins together and hope Florida loses its horseshoe eventually, or some of those teams. When you have teams like Toronto just handing away points in the third period, it makes it pretty difficult."
The Panthers trailed the Maple Leafs 4-1 in the third period earlier this week, only to rally for a 5-4 overtime victory.
"Games like that are hard to overlook, especially when you're racing against a team and then the other team, Toronto in particular, has these epic collapses in the third period," Corvo said. "It's pretty disheartening."
Florida then rolled into the RBC Center on Thursday and smacked the Canes 5-0.How do you explain a 5-0 loss in a game that had such added importance?
"We weren't ready to play, I guess," Corvo said. "Maybe it's the distance between games, in terms of the time changes and things like that."
"We were outshooting them but nothing went right in that game. What are you going to do?"
Keep going, obviously. After tonight's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the RBC Center, the Canes play at Buffalo on Sunday night.
"It's the same situation as two or three weeks ago," forward Sergei Samsonov said. "You've got four or five teams that are really close. The good thing is we're playing a couple of those teams up ahead and there's an opportunity there, that's for sure."