Steven Stamkos' future in Tampa Bay became clearer this week, and the Lightning will try to use that assurance to boost them toward some more positive results.
They'll first seek to bounce back from their first home loss of 2016 on Tuesday night against the San Jose Sharks.
Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman quashed any rumors that his team was seeking to deal its superstar forward before the Feb. 29 trade deadline by issuing a statement Monday. The Lightning are seeking to work out a long-term contract extension with Stamkos.
"Steven Stamkos will not be traded before the NHL's trade deadline," Yzerman said. "I have said repeatedly that it is our hope to reach an agreement with Steven on a new contract at some point, and with 27 games remaining in the season, our entire organization, Steven included, wants to focus on making the playoffs. I will keep the negotiating process strictly between the involved parties and have no further comment on the state of those negotiations."
The timing of Yzerman's statement comes with the Lightning (30-21-4) having lost three of four following a 10-1-0 stretch. Playing at home couldn't help Tampa Bay on Sunday against St. Louis.
The Lightning ended a nine-game win streak on their own ice - one shy of tying their franchise mark - with a 2-1 defeat. The Blues' winning goal came with 2:19 remaining after an overturned video review.
"We've just got to regroup here because everyone around us (in the standings) is winning," coach Jon Cooper said. "That nice little run brought us back into the playoff picture, but we might wake up Tuesday morning and we might be out (of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot)."
Tampa Bay is seeking a third consecutive win over San Jose and its first in three home matchups. The Lightning won 4-3 Dec. 5 with Nikita Kucherov scoring a pair of goals.
The Sharks (29-20-5) defeated Arizona 4-1 on Saturday to improve to 2-0-1 in their last three, tallying a combined nine goals in the past two. San Jose has spread out that scoring with only Joonas Donskoi finding the net in both contests.
"We're in a good mindset right now," coach Peter DeBoer said. "We're comfortable in our game and there's no panic, whether we're down or some bounces go against us. We're finding ways to keep our composure, stay in the game and we're getting rewarded for that."
San Jose has matched a season high by scoring at least one power-play goal in four consecutive games, going 7 for 20. The Sharks haven't produced a five-game streak since Oct. 30-Nov. 9, 2014.
San Jose scored all three of its goals with the man advantage in its December matchup with Tampa Bay, which has killed 35 of 37 penalties in its last 11 contests.
Sharks defenseman Brent Burns had a goal and an assist in the last meeting but has been stuck on 18 goals since Jan. 11, going without a score in a season-worst 14 games.
San Jose's top scorer, Joe Pavelski, will seek to avoid his longest drought this season, seven games. He has one assist in his last three versus Tampa Bay.
Stamkos has eight goals and five assists in nine career matchups with the Sharks.