The Flyers continued to play down to their competition Thursday night.
They suffered their 12th straight loss in games against teams not in a playoff spot, dropping a sleep-inducing 3-1 decision to Carolina at the Wells Fargo Center.
"The intensity is not as high as when we play good teams," said Claude Giroux, who hit the post with 52 seconds left. "Maybe it's preparation. I'm not too sure it is, but we need to figure it out."
They will have all summer to do so. The season ends Saturday afternoon against visiting Ottawa, which needs one point to clinch a playoff spot.
Defensemen Brett Bellemore and Ryan Murphy (power play) scored for lowly Carolina (30-40-11), which won four of five games against the Flyers (33-30-18) this season.
The Flyers are 0-7-5 in their last 12 games against teams that were not in a playoff spot when they met. Conversely, they are on a 12-1-4 run against playoff teams.
With goalie Ray Emery pulled for an extra attacker, Sean Couturier tipped in Mark Streit's drive with 3 minutes, 41 seconds left, slicing Carolina's lead to 2-1.
Jordan Staal iced the win with an empty-net goal with 38.4 seconds remaining.
The Flyers, who showed little offensive life until Emery was pulled, nearly tied it with 1:39 left, but Cam Ward stopped Matt Read in front. Forty-seven seconds later, Giroux's shot hit the post and Ward was able to control the rebound.
Earlier, Vinny Lecavalier got to relieve a season's worth of frustrations, but the veteran forward suffered a possible concussion in the process.
Lecavalier, who turns 35 on April 21, got into his first two fights of the season, both against Keegan Lowe, a 22-year-old defenseman who made his NHL debut.
"On the first one, the guy cross-checked him a bit, and Vinny can handle himself," coach Craig Berube said.
Lowe, whose father, Kevin, helped Edmonton win five Stanley Cups and is now an executive with the club, got the best of a first-period bout. Lecavalier went after him in the second period and got in several punches, earning two minutes for instigating, five minutes for fighting, and a 10-minute misconduct.
It marked the first time in his 16-year career that Lecavalier had gotten into two fights in a game; the fights were the 25th and 26th of his career.
"Vinny's earned the right to get respect out there, and we felt he kind of got disrespected, and he took it in his own hands," Emery said.
Lecavalier, who missed the third period, was unavailable after the game, and the Flyers said they would have a medical update Friday.
"He wanted his lick and he got it," Lowe said. "Game's over and we got the win."
Carolina took a 1-0 lead when Bellemore, getting position on Nick Grossmann in front of the net, redirected Eric Staal's point drive past Emery with 7:12 left in the opening period.
Later in the period, Bellemore made a diving block on Read's ticketed rebound with a wide-open net staring at him.
Emery, 32, who has had an inconsistent season, was likely making his final appearance for the Flyers. He is an unrestricted free agent after the season.
He made his best stop when he denied Jeff Skinner on a breakaway with 17:55 left in regulation, keeping the deficit at 1-0.
But with Michael Del Zotto in the penalty box for four minutes (high-sticking), defenseman Murphy connected from above the left circle, giving Carolina a 2-0 lead with 7:09 to play.
"It was kind of a weird game. Not much going on out there," said Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning, who was involved in his first NHL fight. "I think we came out kind of flat, and they didn't do anything special all night, either. I think it was an opportunity lost."
Just like their season.