The Carolina Hurricanes' three-game Canadian trip got off to an inauspicious start, but a visit to Winnipeg could help them get back in the win column and revive an inconsistent offense.
Before playing their first road game in nearly three weeks, the Jets look to avoid their worst record on a homestand of at least six games Friday night against the Hurricanes.
After surging into the All-Star break riding a 7-2-1 stretch to pull within a point of the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot, Carolina returned to action Wednesday with a 4-1 loss to Calgary. The Hurricanes (23-21-8) allowed the Flames to go 2 for 4 with the man advantage after killing 23 of 24 penalties in their previous nine games.
''We're not going to make any excuses,'' captain Eric Staal said. ''We came here a couple of days early to make sure we were ready to go, but obviously we didn't have the game we wanted and we have to be better next game - everybody.''
Improving their play in Winnipeg shouldn't be a problem as visitors have regularly bested the Jets (22-25-3).
Winnipeg is 1-4-0 on this homestand, which began Jan. 18, and the franchise has never finished one of this length with fewer than two victories. The 2013-14 Jets and 2006-07 Atlanta Thrashers hold the franchise's worst record for a homestand this long at 2-3-1.
The Jets, 2-6-0 at home in 2016 after previously going 11-5-1, squandered a number of quality scoring opportunities in a 5-3 loss to Dallas on Tuesday in their only game since the break.
"We're getting scoring chances, it would be one thing if we're not getting shots or not doing anything out there," center Bryan Little said. "We're right in it. We hit two or three crossbars and four breakaways, it's just a matter of bearing down and putting the puck in the net."
The Jets also have to do a better job at keeping their opponents' shots out of the net, as their 3.11 goals-against average in nine games since Jan. 10 is one of the worst marks in the league. Rookie Connor Hellebuyck has started 11 consecutive games for Winnipeg, which has allowed opponents to go 4 for 16 on the power play during the homestand and is among the league's worst on the penalty kill (77.2 percent).
Facing a team having problems defensively will be welcomed by the Hurricanes, who lost 3-1 in both meetings with the Jets last season but haven't faced them this season.
Carolina's offense has been hit-or-miss in the last six games, scoring five goals apiece in two home wins but totaling three in the other four.
Jeff Skinner has notched one of his team-leading 18 goals in the last seven games and Justin Faulk has been stuck on 14 since Dec. 27, as his goalless stretch has now reached 16 contests.
Little is also in the midst of a slump, tallying one goal in the last 15 games and no points in five straight.
"I've been through it before. I'm a little better handling it now than I was when I was younger," he said. "It doesn't make it easier. It's still frustrating. You want to help your team and you want to score goals and contribute. I definitely have a more positive mind-set when I was younger, though."
Dustin Byfuglien, tied with Little for the team lead with 15 goals, has helped pick up the slack with four goals in the last three games.