Penalties, and gamesmanship, continue to be an issue as Lightning and Pens get set for Game 2
Interesting stuff around the teams Friday morning as the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Penguins get ready for Game 2 of their first-round playoff series, and most of it centered around penalties. Lightning wing Ryan Malone saying perhaps Tampa Bay players should, if not embellish, make sure referees see that an infraction has been called, and Penguins coach Dan Bylsma saying he is aware of comments from Lightning coach Guy Boucher that repeatedly made reference to the disparity in penalties in Game 1.
Pittsburgh had six power plays in Game 1. The Lightning had one. It was widely viewed that Boucher might be trying to plant a seed in the referees' minds for Game 2.
"I'm aware of the comments," Bylsma said. "I'm not sure talking to the media has an effect or not, and I'm not sure he (Boucher) was doing that. But we're aware we need to play a disciplined game for us to keep their power play off the ice. We're going to go into the game with that awareness."
Forget planting a seed, Malone said, the Lightning should take a page out of the Penguins playbook and make sure the referees see that a penalty has occurred. Malone specifically talked about Pittsburgh's Max Talbot falling to the ice when Tampa Bay's Dominic More had a hand on his shoulder, and Kris Letang throwing his head back when clipped in the face by the stick of Tampa Bay defenseman Mike Lundin.
Malone went so far as to say, "I don't know if he threw Lundin's stick in his face or not," but added, "But he snapped his head back. He's okay, he wasn't bleeding, but just throw your head back and the referee knows you got whacked in the face."
On the Talbot-Moore penalty, Malone said, "I'm sure Moore isn't strong enough with one hand to throw Talbot to the ice."
That said, "It's still a holding penalty. (Moore's) arm is there on his shoulder, so all our penalties were penalties. We understand that. But I want to make sure if a guy cross-checks me and breaks his stick across my back I should fall down just to let the refs know. You're not embellishing. You're not completely diving, like, you're not going to get into soccer or anything. You just want to let the refs know you're being held or obstructed. That's what (the Penguins) did a good job of making that clear."
Of course, there is another way of getting the calls to go your way, and Malone certainly understands the bottom line.
"You have to keep your feet moving and make sure you're first on the puck," Malone said. "That way, the penalties will take care of themselves. In the end, if we have the puck, we won't be taking as many penalties."
Other stuff from the morning: Malone also said the team's desperation has to be greater in Game 2. "Our battle level has to be higher. Around the net, the rebounds are there, we have to make sure we put it back in the net. That's the biggest thing. We have to stay hungry and pump up the battle level a little bit more." ... Good stuff from Lightning GM Steve Yzerman on embellishing for the sake of drawing penalties: "I think more so than ever, hooking, holding, whatever, are embellished because as soon as a player puts his arm out like that, he's subject to a penalty, and if you fall down it's definitely going to be a penalty. The rules the way they are now, a little bit of the fallout is that you see more of it. But I played the game. Everybody does it once in a while. You do what you've got to do to win. There are guys around the league who take it to an extreme. I don't think it's anything that anybody encourages, but it would be hypocritical of me to call a guy a diver when (Yzerman laughed) I did it myself." ... Boucher said he believes the lineup for Game 2 will remain the same. Defenseman Randy Jones, out since March 7 because of a high ankle sprain, needs more practice time. Boucher said Marc-Andre Bergeron, a scratch in Game 1, has a minor injury issue, though he did not give details. ... Wing Marty St. Louis said he would have had three damaged teeth pulled Monday after he was hit in the mouth by Zbynek Michalek's stick, but wanted to be able to easily eat during the playoffs, so he had the teeth (two on top, one on bottom) cemented in. They will be addressed after the season. ... No update on Sidney Crosby's potential return, though Bylsma said he has. "I have not sensed any kind of pressure on Sid, that he feels, based on the fact that it is the playoffs," Bylsma said. "He's more in tune with watching the games and what can we do and what adjustments that they're making, that sort of thing. I haven't sensed anything to do with trying to get back early or feeling that pressure at all, not one bit." ... Yzerman said he believes Games 3 and 4 and at the St. Pete Times Forum are close to being sold out. ... Bylsma said he is thinking about playing defenseman Deryk Engelland in Game 2. Engelland 123 penalty minutes were third on the team in the regular season. ... The Lightning reassigned forward Alex Hutchings to AHL Norfolk from ECHL Florida.