TAMPA — Lightning C Vinny Lecavalier had a big part in Sunday's 6-3 loss to the Penguins.
"In those situations, he's the captain. He wants to show we're not going to take everything and not just be little poodles and wait for things to happen. For me, there's absolutely no blame on his part there."
Two other factors made the confrontation intriguing. Lecavalier, who entered with 28 penalty minutes this season, rarely displays that kind of aggression, and the two have a history. Malkin was suspended for Russia's semifinal in the 2006 Olympics for trying to kick Canada's Lecavalier in the head in the quarterfinals.
"We're talking a little better," said Ryan Malone , who scored Sunday. "We're trying to battle for those loose pucks and look for the open guy. It's not really rocket science. We've got to make sure five guys are working hard."
MEDICAL MATTERS: RW Dana Tyrell left in the third period because of a lower-body injury.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Tampa Bay for the first time in its history allowed hat tricks in consecutive games. Washington's Troy Brouwer got one Friday.
ODDS AND ENDS: The Lightning's seven-game losing streak is its longest since a nine-gamer to end 2008-09. … D Matt Gilroy scored his first Lightning goal and first in 71 games (Jan. 5, 2011, for the Rangers). … Pittsburgh had one power-play goal in seven previous games before getting two Sunday. … The Lightning's 54 first-period goals allowed are eight more than the next-highest team. … D Marc-Andre Bergeron (back) and RW J.T. Wyman (pinky) were scratched.