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Give refs help, Tampa Bay Lightning's Ryan Malone advises

Marty St. Louis holds his face after taking a stick there during Game 1. But it wasn’t enough to draw a penalty.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Marty St. Louis holds his face after taking a stick there during Game 1. But it wasn’t enough to draw a penalty.

PITTSBURGH — Fall down when grabbed. Throw your head back if a stick hits you in the face; just a couple of ways W Ryan Malone said can help the Lightning get a fair share of power plays in the playoffs.

"You're not embellishing, and you're not completely diving, like, you're not going to get into soccer or anything," Malone said before Friday's Game 2. "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 clear."

Penalties have been a running theme the past few days.

Pittsburgh had six power plays in Game 1. The Lightning had one, and Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher has been reminding, perhaps to plant a seed in the minds of the referees, that the Penguins were one of the league's most-penalized teams during the regular season.

"I was aware of the comments," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. "I'm not sure talking to the media has an effect on the refs or not, and I'm not sure he was doing that. But we're aware we need to play disciplined to keep their power play off the ice."

Did Tampa Bay's strategy work? The Penguins had seven power plays in Friday's Game 2. But the Lightning had six.

Malone said the Penguins did a good job in Game 1 of embellishing infractions that are not serious but penalized nonetheless; C Max Talbot falling when C Dominic Moore grabbed his shoulder, and D Kris Letang throwing back his head when hit by D Mike Lundin's stick.

"I don't know if (Letang) threw Lundin's stick in his face or not, but he snapped his head back," Malone said. "He's okay. He wasn't bleeding, but the refs know you got whacked."

Of the Talbot-Moore incident, Malone said, "I'm sure Moore isn't strong enough with one hand to throw Talbot to the ice. But it's still a holding penalty. His 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 just trying to get any edge you can."

STATE OF PLAY: Lightning GM Steve Yzerman agreed with Malone's take.

"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 a penalty," he said. "The rules the way they are, the fallout of that is you see more of it."

Not that embellishing is new.

"I played the game a long time," Yzerman said. "Everybody dives once in a while. I don't think it's anything anybody encourages, but it would be hypocritical of me to call a guy a diver when I did it myself."

SOLID: W Marty St. Louis said he would have had three damaged teeth (two on top, one on the bottom) pulled after he was hit by the stick of Penguins D Zbynek Michalek.

But "they wanted me to eat during the playoffs," he said.

So after a double root canal, St. Louis had the teeth cemented in place.

Michalek said it was an accident as both players fell.

"My stick wasn't high," he said in his first public comments about the incident. "It was bad luck."

LINEUP: There was speculation D Randy Jones or D Marc-Andre Bergeron might play. But Boucher said Jones, out since March 7 with a high ankle sprain, needs more practice time and Bergeron has a minor undisclosed injury.

ODDS AND ENDS: D Eric Brewer had his first multipoint game since Feb. 17, 2008, for the Blues. … The Lightning reassigned F Alex Hutchings to AHL Norfolk from ECHL Florida. … D Matt Smaby (lower body) was scratched. … Norfolk won its playoff opener 2-1 over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Times staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report.

Give refs help, Tampa Bay Lightning's Ryan Malone advises 04/15/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 16, 2011 12:28am]
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