PITTSBURGH — Lightning G Dwayne Roloson said he was protecting his territory when he punched Evgeni Malkin.
But the Penguins superstar said the second-period dustup in Roloson's crease helped spark his four-point game that included his second hat trick this season against Tampa Bay and the ninth of his career.
"Of course I'm mad," Malkin said after Pittsburgh's 8-1 win Saturday. "I was just doing my job. I don't know why he was mad. I just controlled the puck and shot, and the defenseman cross-checked me in the back. I didn't know why Roloson punched me in the face."
Malkin, who tussled with Lightning C Vinny Lecavalier on Jan. 15 in Tampa, apparently believed D Victor Hedman knocked him into Roloson. But all Roloson said he knew was Malkin crashed into him.
"Him and I always have a little battle," Roloson said. "He was coming in hard, and he takes me out. I have to defend my area. He knows that. We had a good laugh about it after that."
Really, a laugh?
"Oh, yeah," Roloson said. "We talked about it. It's one of those things. He knows, and I know."
Malkin, whose 77 points moved him ahead of Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos for the league lead — they began the day tied; Stamkos was pointless — has decimated the Lightning this season with eight goals and 11 points in his past three games.
His second goal Saturday was a beauty. He stick-handled from his blue line through the offensive zone and past all five Lightning skaters, including D Brett Clark, who got completely twisted around as Malkin passed him in the slot with a forehand-to-backhand move.
"He's so skilled, big and strong, you can't get the puck away from him," Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said. "He's as dominant a guy as there is in the game."
HEDMAN HURT: Hedman did not play the third period because of an upper-body injury. Yzerman said he did not believe it was related to the concussion that kept Hedman out of 13 games in January. "I don't expect anything good," coach Guy Boucher said. Expect a callup from AHL Norfolk.
HURTING: Lecavalier said his right hand was broken by a shot during the Feb. 18 game with the Capitals. "It's real disappointing," said Lecavalier, who has missed three games and is expected out at least three weeks. "This time of the year, you want to be part of something and be with the guys every single game. I'm going to keep training and skating every day to stay in good shape."
MORE MEDICAL MATTERS: RW Ryan Shannon was out because of a previously unrevealed upper-body injury that occurred Thursday vs. the Jets.
PASS: The Lightning did not make a waiver claim for LW Antti Miettinen, whom it signed to a two-year, $3 million contract in December but lost on waivers to the Jets. Miettinen, 31, had four assists in 27 games for Winnipeg, which put him back on waivers.
ODDS AND ENDS: New RW Tim Wallace played 10:53 and had four hits. … The Lightning lost its fourth straight regular-season game in Pittsburgh while being outscored 25-5. … Tampa Bay gave up a shorthanded goal and its nine against are second in the league. … D Marc-Andre Bergeron (back) was scratched.