There comes a time in every season going bad when someone — if that season is to be saved — forces those responsible to look in the mirror.

That is what happened Monday at the Ice Sports Forum when wing Marty St. Louis said Lightning players, including himself, have not worked hard enough, smart enough or consistent enough.

"Last year, there were a lot of games we just deserved," he said. "We earned it every day. This year, it hasn't been as much."

The result is Tampa Bay is 13th in the 15-team Eastern Conference, nine points out of the eighth and final playoff spot and facing a crucial 12-game stretch in which nine games are at home and a season is on the line.

That after falling one game short last season of reaching the Stanley Cup final.