With some reinforcements on the way, the Carolina Hurricanes can confidently focus on earning their first victory.
The visiting Hurricanes could have three key players back as they try to avoid matching a club record with five straight losses to open the season Tuesday night against the reeling Winnipeg Jets.
After scoring a career-high 33 goals in 2013-14, star Carolina winger Jeff Skinner is likely to make his season debut after suffering a concussion during the preseason. Meanwhile, defensemen Andrej Sekera (upper body) and John-Michael Liles (lower body) expect to play after sitting out Thursday's 2-1 shootout loss to the New York Rangers.
The Hurricanes (0-2-2) also hope to have forwards Nathan Gerbe (lower body), Patrick Dwyer (lower body) and Eric Staal (upper body) available before this five-game road stretch ends Oct. 28 in Vancouver.
"I think we're going to trickle guys back in as we go," coach Bill Peters told the Hurricanes' official website. "We're getting close. Day-to-day, obviously.
"Everyone has a chance to get back in at some point through the trip. We look forward to their addition to the lineup."
That's good news for a club that started 0-2 with three ties in 2003-04. The 1987-88 team, while based in Hartford, is the only one to drop its first five games.
Despite the injuries, the Hurricanes feel they're striding in a positive direction after two straight shootout losses.
''Two games in a row we put back-to-back (strong efforts)," defenseman Jay Harrison said.
''(It's an) us-against-the world mentality.''
After Carolina allowed 13 goals in the first three games, Anton Khudobin made 33 saves against the Rangers.
''We need our goalies to be pillars back there," Harrison said.
Starter Cam Ward has a 3.88 goals-against average in two starts, but made 34 saves during a 3-2 victory at Winnipeg on March 22.
Under current coach and two-time Hurricanes boss Paul Maurice, the Jets split the two meetings with his former team last season.
Winnipeg (1-4-0) is looking to generate more offense after being outscored 13-2 during a four-game skid that followed its 6-2 win at Arizona.
''(The record) is reflective of the kind of hockey we've played,'' Maurice said after Sunday's 4-1 home loss to Calgary. "The record's accurate."
Mark Scheifele scored during a first period in which the Jets outshot the Flames 13-6. Calgary, though, scored three goals on 18 shots in the second.
''It doesn't take much in this league for a game to turn around like that, so we'll take a look at it, go back to work (Monday) and work on turning this thing around," Jets defenseman Mark Stuart said.
Winnipeg can start by improving a power play that has gone 0 for 14. The Jets - one of four teams without a power-play goal in the young season - ranked 25th converting 15.4 percent of such chances in 2013-14.
"We can't hang our heads and be negative here," said forward Bryan Little, who has scored once in the four games since opening with two goals against the Coyotes. "We're going to stay as positive as we can."
Little has a goal and three assists in his last three games against the Hurricanes.