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Malkin, Lecavalier mix it up in Penguins' victory

TAMPA, Fla. — Center Evgeni Malkin simply shrugged his shoulders when asked why he was attacked by Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier on Sunday.

Moments earlier, Malkin ducked to avoid a hit from Lecavalier, who was attempting to hit the Penguins center into the boards. Lecavalier then approached Malkin from behind and started throwing punches. He was given four minutes of penalties for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct. Malkin received two minutes for roughing.

"Vinny felt that Malkin tried to go for his knees," Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said. "In those situations, he's the captain and he wants to show that we are not going to just take everything and be little poodles and wait for things to happen. For me, there is absolutely no blame on his part there."

Malkin said he simply acted in self defense.

"I moved down because I wanted to save myself," Malkin said. "I didn't see him before. I don't know. Maybe it was a dangerous play, but it's the game."

The two have a history; Malkin was suspended during the 2006 Olympics for kicking Lecavalier. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma didn't see anything wrong with Malkin's actions.

"It's hockey," he said. "It happens."

Lecavalier left the building without speaking to reporters.

> > Bylsma said that defenseman Kris Letang, who was not on the road trip, skated rigorously in Pittsburgh while the Penguins were on their three-game jaunt. It is believed that Letang is getting close to practicing with the Penguins soon. He hasn't played since Nov. 26 because of a concussion.

> > The Penguins held Lightning center Steven Stamkos, who leads the league with 30 goals, to no shots.

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