The San Jose Sharks and Philadelphia Flyers have been two of the NHL’s most consistent franchises for the better part of two decades.
Both appear likely to miss out on the playoffs in the same year for the first time since 1992-93, however.
The Sharks and Flyers continue to try to salvage what appear to be lost seasons Saturday when they meet in Philadelphia.
Prior to this year, the Flyers and Sharks ranked third and tied for sixth, respectively, in win percentage since 1994-95 at .589 and .564. The 2014-15 campaign has been a disappointment for both, though neither has been mathematically eliminated.
The Sharks (36-30-8) are 10 points out of a wild-card spot and have allowed 23 goals while dropping four of six. Though this current seven-game trip may finalize San Jose’s downfall, the club also hurt its postseason chances by going 4-5-0 over its previous nine games, which included eight home contests.
The Sharks look set to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2003, which would end the league’s second-longest active streak.
Philadelphia (30-29-16), which was four points out of a playoff spot before dropping eight of 10, is now nine points back. The Flyers are likely to miss the postseason for the second time in three years after qualifying in 16 of the previous 17.
San Jose won 6-4 at Detroit, a victory that may have been too little, too late.
"We’ve put ourselves in a tough situation," coach Todd McLellan said. " …The last time I checked, we still have a chance. We’re going to go to Philly now and try to win another game. That’s all we’re doing. We’re taking it the same way we always have."
It’s unclear whether McLellan’s job is in jeopardy, though the Sharks fired current Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter the last time they missed the playoffs in 2003.
The Flyers don’t appear to have much left to play for either, though Jakub Voracek remains in competition for the scoring title. His 74 points tie him for second with the New York Islanders’ John Tavares, while Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby leads the league with 75.
"I’m not going to say I wouldn’t like it," Voracek told the team’s official website. "There are only a couple times you can win the scoring race."
Philadelphia ended a four-game skid Wednesday, defeating Chicago 4-1. Claude Giroux scored his 22nd goal and has four goals in three games after scoring as many in his previous 30.
Wayne Simmonds scored his team-leading 28th goal, but suffered a season-ending lower-body injury. Defenseman Andrew MacDonald is also out for the rest of the season with an upper-body injury.
The Flyers have allowed 15 goals during a 6-1-1 stretch at home, where they play five of their final seven games. They’re 1-10-3 with two ties in the last 16 versus San Jose, including six straight home defeats. Matthew Nieto scored the winner with 12 seconds remaining in the Sharks’ 2-1 home victory on Dec. 2.
Joe Pavelski has five goals and two assists in four career games at Philadelphia.