The San Jose Sharks have seen their scoring and power-play production dip since Logan Couture went down three games into the season.
The Carolina Hurricanes are also having trouble scoring and they own the league’s second-worst power play.
The Sharks seek to end a three-game slide Saturday night when they host a Carolina team that has totaled two goals in its last three games.
Couture broke his leg in practice Oct. 15 after San Jose scored 12 goals with him during a 3-0-0 start. The Sharks (4-3-0) have managed six goals in four games since, with one in their last two.
San Jose was 3 for 14 on the power play with Couture before going 0 for 10 in the next four games.
"He’s a big piece of it, obviously been together the five of us when we’re out there, we don’t even really think, to be honest with you," center Joe Pavelski said. "We’re moving around, you fill your lane and you go from there."
Carolina (2-5-0) is at 6.9 percent on the power play to rank ahead of only Anaheim. The Hurricanes had four chances in Friday’s 3-0 loss at Los Angeles.
"The power play struggled, it’s struggled all year," coach Bill Peters said.
Eric Staal, Kris Versteeg and defenseman Justin Faulk have four points apiece but no one else on the club has more than two.
"We’ve gotta get some of our higher-end skill guys involved offensively," Peters said. "But in order to do that, you’ve got to get into the dirty areas to score."
One of the players Peters may be referring to is Jeff Skinner, who had a career-high 33 goals in 2013-14, slumped to 18 last season and has one through seven games this year.
Carolina forward Andrej Nestrasil limped to the dressing room in the second period and didn’t return after taking a slap shot from Christian Ehrhoff on the inside of his leg.
San Jose has been sloppy lately on the penalty kill, yielding four goals in eight chances in the last three games in a run that coincides with the absence of defenseman Paul Martin.
Martin is poised to return after being out with a lower-body injury. He totaled a team-high 14:11 of short-handed ice time in the first four games.
Rookie forward Joonas Donskoi will also likely return after missing four games with a lower-body injury.
The Sharks went 0 for 5 on the power play in Thursday’s 4-1 home defeat to the Kings. Joel Ward’s second-period goal was all they mustered.
”We definitely had our chances on the power play. It just didn’t find its way in,” Pavelski said. ”We had our flurries in their end and we sustained pressure.”
Martin Jones has yielded eight goals total in losing his last two starts after he won his first four with a 0.49 goals-against average with two shutouts. He has never faced Carolina.
The Hurricanes gave Cam Ward both starts the last time they had a back-to-back, and he made 25 saves Friday. Ward is 4-1-0 with a 3.60 GAA in five starts versus the Sharks.
The other option is Eddie Lack, who made 38 saves to win his lone career start against the Sharks in a 3-2 victory for Vancouver on March 7.
These teams split two 2014-15 matchups after the Hurricanes had captured the previous four. Carolina has won four straight in San Jose.