The San Jose Sharks rolled through the first week of the season before the New York Islanders handed them their first loss as part of their own strong start.
Less than a month later, these teams are struggling heading into Tuesday night's matchup, but the Sharks appear to have the edge with the Islanders not winning in regulation in San Jose in almost 13 years.
The Sharks won their first four games before losing 6-3 in New York on Oct. 17, as the Islanders rallied with four unanswered goals. That was part of a 6-2-1 start for New York.
Things have not gone well for either team since. The defeat in Brooklyn began a 3-7-0 stretch for the Sharks, while the Islanders are 1-3-2 in their last six.
San Jose's problems can be traced to special teams, as it's gone 5 for 42 on the power play and allowed opponents to go 11 for 46 to rank near the bottom of the NHL in both categories.
The Sharks (7-7-0) failed to score on four opportunities in a 1-0 loss to visiting Anaheim on Saturday, dropping to 0 for 11 with a man advantage in their last four overall and 0 for 19 this season at home.
"Obviously our power play didn't click," coach Peter DeBoer said. "It's not like we're not establishing possession, getting in, looking dangerous, getting chances. We just have to stick with it and know that eventually those are going to go in for us."
That could happen against New York, which has allowed a power-play goal in each of its last three games after killing all 26 in its previous nine, and like the Sharks is struggling to score with the advantage - and overall.
The Islanders have nine goals in their past six games after scoring 31 in the first nine. New York (7-5-3) lost 2-1 at home to Boston on Sunday, going 1 for 7 on the power play.
''We have to battle through it,'' coach Jack Capuano said. ''We had chances on the power play and didn't capitalize. I feel for the guys. We've done some good things - we're in a rut right now. We just have to keep working hard.''
Kyle Okposo had the game-winning goal and two assists against the Sharks last month but has been held to five points in the last 10 games. John Tavares registered 11 in the first eight before being held without one in his past four.
"Not scoring, it's frustrating," said Taveras, who recently missed three games with an illness. "You just gotta work through it. It's all you can do."
San Jose is 5-0-1 at home in the series since the Islanders won 3-0 on Feb. 19, 2003. New York also faces Los Angeles and Anaheim on its trip.
"We've got three pretty tough teams that we're playing that are obviously high-powered veteran teams," Capuano said. " ... We've only had six defensemen here for a while and going out west we're probably going to need another defenseman with us."
The Islanders addressed that need Monday by recalling Adam Pelech from the AHL. The 2012 third-round pick had two goals and two assists with a team-high plus-9 rating in 14 games for Bridgeport.