The Lightning rounded the quarter pole on Tuesday, reaching the 20-game mark of the season.
And judging from many outside views, the wheels are ready to fall off.
That's an easy assessment based on a 7-1 loss to Toronto in Game No. 20, Tampa Bay's fourth loss in the past five games.
Twitter posts from Lightning fans suggest anything from trades to coaching changes to call-ups as ways to shake up a team with lofty aspirations for this season.
The internal approach, however, is a bit more calm, collected and methodical, without the emotion of a humiliating loss to the Maple Leafs that dropped the Lightning to 9-9-2 on the season.
The last result and the current situation will not prompt the team to hit the panic button.
The closest thing to a shake-up was placing center Blair Jones on waivers Wednesday afternoon, while wing Dana Tyrell, who spent all last season with the Lightning, was recalled from Norfolk of the American Hockey League.
"I never believe you do something just to do something," Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said. "You just try to make the team better, whether that's through recalling somebody or a trade. I'm not going to react. You just have to assess your team.
"We've been inconsistent. We've had some very good games and done a lot of good things, but as a team we have to improve our team defense. And that's not a critique of our defense, it's just as a team collectively we have to be better. We have higher expectations and some of our players are not playing at the level they were at last year. We are not as deep as we were last year, and we are hoping that within, our players will elevate their play.''
Even if Yzerman wanted to pull the trigger on a deal to improve his team – something he showed little hesitation in doing last year in trading for goaltender Dwayne Roloson and defenseman Eric Brewer – it takes two motivated sides to make it work.
"In general, teams really are not looking to take on contracts, take on money this time of the year and it's hard to make a trade,'' Yzerman said. "It's hard to find a fit with teams because teams don't want to give up their draft picks. Teams don't want to give up their young guys.''
As tough as the start has been for the Lightning, the difference from last year is not that dramatic. Tampa Bay was 11-7-2 through 20 games last season, a start that included two three-game winning streaks, two three-game losing streaks and a minus-2 goal differential.
This season, the Lightning have had a pair of three-game winning streaks, but have yet to drop more than consecutive games in regulation – though there was five-game winless stretch – and the goal differential is minus-11.
Coming off a season in which Tampa Bay reached the postseason for the first time in four years and came within a victory of reaching the Stanley Cup final, expectations have changed how this year's 20-game mark is viewed.
"Fans have to stick behind us right now. We can't sell the farm, yet,'' center Nate Thompson said. "It's a long season and there are a lot of positive things. We have a lot of the same personnel, guys that are capable of doing really great things.
"Teams go through struggles sometimes and that's what makes it a team, going through adversity and being able to get out of it. We have a lot of character in this room and we believe in ourselves and know what we are capable of.''
Yzerman, as well, has a lot faith in the team he assembled.
"I'm not shocked by the position we are in. I'm not caught off guard by it," he said. "I still feel this team can perform better. We are just finding different ways to lose hockey games.
"But I just believe in this group. They are good hockey players. We are just going through a difficult period and have not played as well as we would like to and I think we are better than what we have shown. I just find we are beating ourselves in areas that we can be better in and should be better in.''