The Boston Bruins won the Presidents' Trophy last season, finding plenty of success against the Western Conference.
They're not coming close to replicating that in 2014-15.
Losers in eight of 10 games, the Bruins attempt to avoid their longest slide in 20 months Wednesday night against the Minnesota Wild.
Boston (15-13-3) compiled 117 points last season, coming four shy of the franchise record set in 1970-71. However, the Bruins don't look capable of coming close to any of those marks this season, particularly during a 2-5-3 stretch that includes dropping five of seven (2-4-1) to West opponents.
They went 18-4-6 against the opposite conference last season.
Boston lost for the fourth time in six meetings with teams from the Central Division on Tuesday, falling 3-2 in a shootout at Nashville to open this three-game road trip that ends at Winnipeg on Friday.
"We played a pretty decent game against a team that has been pretty good," coach Claude Julien said.
Still, the Bruins are enduring their third three-game slide of the season, and they haven't dropped four straight since April 11-20, 2013.
Facing the Wild (16-12-1) may not help them avoid equaling that mark, as they've lost 12 of 15 all-time matchups. Boston surrendered three unanswered goals in the third period to fall 4-3 at home Oct. 28 while being outshot 42-28.
The Bruins fell by the same score in a shootout at Minnesota on April 8.
Milan Lucic had one goal and one assist in the most recent meeting, and he enters this one after finding the net against the Predators to end a six-game drought.
The left wing has scored four of his six goals against West teams after netting just three of his 24 against them last season.
Reilly Smith is tied with Brad Marchand with a team-leading eight goals, netting half of them in the past five contests. The right wing didn't get on the scoresheet against the Wild in October, but he found the net on a power play in the last visit to Minnesota.
The Wild have followed a season-high four-game winning streak by alternating wins and losses for 11 games (5-5-1). They couldn't break that trend Tuesday, giving up a power-play tally and an empty-netter in the final 3:28 after they'd tied the score in a 5-3 loss at Chicago.
"The third period was great," coach Mike Yeo said. "It's a tie game, and we've got five minutes left. As far as I'm concerned we have the momentum.
"We battled back, but that (penalty) was the difference in the game."
Nino Niederreiter has been a bright spot, scoring three goals in four games to match his career high of 14 set in 81 games last season. The right wing had a goal at Boston in October.
Zach Parise also scored in that visit, and he's totaled nine points in the last eight games overall to give him a team-high 23. The left wing has been particularly productive at home with 15 points in 12 games.