The New Jersey Devils have yet to pick up a victory, but playing well in long stretches during close defeats has prevented them from getting discouraged.
The Winnipeg Jets, meanwhile, have regressed following a strong start.
Both clubs looks to end their respective skids as the Jets host the Devils on Sunday night.
New Jersey missed the postseason for the second time in three years in the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign after playing in the 2012 Stanley Cup finals, then had to cope with the sudden departure of star Ilya Kovalchuk to the KHL.
The Devils (0-2-3) are going through a difficult adjustment period and are winless through five games for the first time since the 1981-82 season when the franchise was known as the Colorado Rockies. The only worse start in franchise history was a nine-game winless stretch to begin its inaugural 1974-75 season as the Kansas City Scouts.
"Obviously we want to get wins and we're not getting them, but the last thing we need to do is really get frustrated or overanalyze it," captain Bryce Salvador said.
There are some positives, though. Damien Brunner, signed to a two-year contract Sept. 24 after spending last season with Detroit, has a team-best three goals, and New Jersey has scored first in each of its last four contests.
Brunner assisted on Adam Henrique's first-period goal Friday, but the Devils fell 3-2 at Calgary on a goal with 2:43 to play. They dropped their previous three contests in a shootout or overtime.
"We just made some mistakes and it cost us," forward Jaromir Jagr said. "We had the lead every game except the first game against the Penguins. We've got to learn to play with the lead."
Winnipeg (2-3-0) hasn't had a lead to protect recently. It last led at the end of the first period last Sunday in a 3-2 loss to Anaheim, its first defeat after opening with back-to-back wins.
The Jets then fell 2-1 at Minnesota on Thursday before allowing three first-period goals in Friday's 4-1 loss to Dallas.
"We're five games in and it's still very early and we know what we have in this room," said forward Evander Kane, who has gone without a point in four of five games. "I don't think we're panicking. It's just frustrating."
Ondrej Pavelec made 27 saves, and coach Claude Noel said his team can't continue having breakdowns in front of him.
"We can't make those kind of mistakes and expect that our goaltending's going to save us like it has in the previous games," Noel said after Winnipeg allowed two power-play goals in a game for the third time. "We should have been smarter and we should have been better in those areas."
The Jets again will be playing on limited rest Sunday, as it marks their third game in four nights. Noel was pleased how the team responded playing on a second straight night Friday, though.
"We just played with a lot more vim and vigor if you will," Noel said. "If we had a game like (Thursday) again (Friday), that would really be a big concern of mine because we really were empty (Thursday).
Winnipeg went 2-0-1 against New Jersey last season with Pavelec posting a 1.62 goals-against average. He's 5-3-3 with a 2.26 GAA lifetime versus the Devils.
It's unclear if Cory Schneider or veteran Martin Brodeur will be in net for New Jersey, though Brodeur has won his last five starts against the Winnipeg franchise with a 1.57 GAA.
The Associated Press News Service
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