There was plenty of blame to go around after the Lightning's 4-1 loss to the Golden Knights Thursday night.
This loss wasn't on one person, no question.
But captain Steven Stamkos showed some leadership by shouldering some responsibility for the team's discouraging performance. Stamkos was a minus-3, as was fellow All-Star Nikita Kucherov.
"As a leader, I have to be a lot better, set an example," Stamkos said. "Our line didn't do that (Thursday). I'll take responsibility for that. We're behind the eight-ball to start games, which has been a trend as of late. It's just too hard of a league to play from behind all the time.
"I'll take responsibility to come out and play a lot better, lead the way. Our line didn't have it tonight."
In fairness, the rest of the team didn't have it, either. There are some issues defensively, the Lightning forgetting about its own net. As veteran defenseman Anton Stralman put it, "We didn't put up a fight." But there was clearly a message sent in a post-game meeting in the dressing room, with the leadership group believing it has to bring the group together.
The Lightning has lost four of six, and now heads into an eight-game road trip (split up by the All-Star Game). It's a telling stretch, and it'll be without injured defenseman Victor Hedman.
"I think that's ownership in the room," Stralman said. "Making sure we're on top of each other, we push each other. And (Thursday), we didn't. And it's on us and the leadership group. We didn't do enough of a job, it's as simple as that."
Stamkos, on the ice for three of Vegas' four goals Thursday, said he could have done a better job getting into shooting lanes, like on the Golden Knights' first goal. Stamkos is a combined minus-4 in the last two games, both home losses.
"We need to take a look in the mirror, starting with myself, and give more of a passionate performance," Stamkos said. "You just can't go out there and expect to win. We need to play better, there's no sugarcoating it."