Panthers captain Ed Jovanovski is thrilled to be playing again after major hip surgery, but that doesn't mean he's happy about the team's current status or attitude.

After losing three lospided games in a row on a critical road trip, the Panthers are 13 points behind a wild-card berth with six teams to hop over and just three games remaining before the 20-day Olympic break.

"We're letting [teams] set up campfires in front of our net,'' Jovanovski said after morning skate at the BB&T Center Tuesday prior to another meeting against the red-hot, third-place Maple Leafs.

"We got to have a certain edge. If we don't have that edge we're a very mediocre team. …I think [we have to] just played [ticked] off, knowing where we are in the standings and wan to win.''

After playing just six games last year before undergoing a radical hip resurfacing procedure to extend his career, Jovanovski, 37, has played 14 straight games without a game off while averaging 15:36 ice time. He leads all Panthers' defensemen with a plus-3.

"I feel pretty good, but when you start losing games it weighs on you more,'' Jovanovski said. "I'm at an age where it's all about finding ways to win and feel good about your team. When you lose your body hurts.''

Jovanovksi is basically relaying a message being stressed by Panthers coach Peter Horachek, who had hoped to be within 5-7 points of a playoff berth before the break.

"It's good to have leadership like that to help put [out] that message,'' Horachek said. "We're looking for consistency for 60 minutes. A lot of what drives that is maybe to have a "burr,'' his words.