The Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils remain within striking distance of the Eastern Conference's final playoff spots, but appear to be focused beyond this season.
The Hurricanes made one of the most high-profile moves before the trade deadline while the Devils shipped off their leading scorer ahead of Tuesday night's matchup in New Jersey.
Carolina (28-26-10) began by sending Eric Staal, its captain and second-leading scorer in franchise history, to the New York Rangers on Sunday for a prospect and a pair of second-round draft picks.
That deal was completed an hour before the Hurricanes' 5-2 defeat to St. Louis, their third in a row, and they completed another trade after the game.
Carolina sent forward Kris Versteeg to Los Angeles for a prospect and a fifth-round pick. Before Monday's trade deadline, the Hurricanes moved defenseman John-Michael Liles to Boston for a prospect and two more draft selections.
They now have 11 picks in this year's draft, seven in the first three rounds.
"It's not easy for the players. It's not easy for our fans. You have to make those tough decisions, and we felt this was a direction we could go in," general manager Ron Francis said. "I still believe in the guys in the locker room. I know they're not going to quit. I wouldn't put it past them to continue to surprise people down the stretch."
New Jersey (30-26-7) sent veteran forward Lee Stempniak, who has 41 points, to Boston for two draft picks Monday. The Devils made two more deals, sending winger Stefan Matteau to Montreal for Devante Smith-Pelly and defenseman Eric Gelinas to Colorado for a third-round pick in 2017.
New Jersey's flurry of activity followed its fifth loss in six games, a 4-0 defeat to visiting Tampa Bay on Friday. The Devils were blown out 6-1 in Columbus the previous night.
"We're never going to give up. I think we're a proud group of guys here," goaltender Cory Schneider said. "We haven't shown it the past two (games). We know what we can do, and we've done it for most of the year so we're not going to let a few games get us down."
New Jersey is trying to avoid missing the playoffs for a fourth straight season while Carolina has the league's second-longest active drought, six seasons.
The Devils have won two of three over the Hurricanes this season, rallying for a 3-2 victory in the previous home matchup Dec. 29. Kyle Palmieri and David Schlemko scored in the third period after Staal tallied both of Carolina's goals in the second.
New Jersey is 3-0-1 in the past four visits from the Hurricanes but has lost three of four home games since Feb. 16. Carolina is 0-2-1 in its last three on the road.
Keith Kinkaid has started both of the Devils' wins against Carolina this season and is 3-1-0 with a 1.70 goals-against average in four career matchups. Schneider, who has a 3.93 GAA in his last four starts, is 4-2-1 with a 1.85 GAA in seven lifetime starts versus the Hurricanes.
Palmieri, owner of a team-best 23 goals and 40 points, has found the net in each of the past two matchups. Adam Henrique has seven goals and one assist in his last 11 meetings, but he has one assist in his past seven games.