It is going to take an awful lot to keep Lightning veteran LW Ryan Malone out of a playoff hockey game.

This is, after all, the same Malone that took a slap shot off the face late in the second period of Game 5 of the 2008 Stanley Cup final while with Pittsburgh, broke his nose and returned to play the third period.

So when Malone missed a large chunk of the first period of Monday night's Game 3 against the Penguins with an undisclosed upper-body injury — and played just 4 minutes, 55 seconds in the first two periods — it garnered some attention.

But Malone, who logged more than six minutes in the third period and had a couple of quality scoring chances in the game, is fine, coach Guy Boucher said, and is expected to play in Wednesday's Game 4 at the St. Pete Times Forum.

"It's the playoffs; they're all going to hurt," Boucher said. "If they're not, they're not paying the price enough."

Malone was in the training room after Monday's 3-2 loss, in which he played 11:12 total, and declined to make himself available to the media. He appeared to get shaken up after taking a hit into the boards early in the first. The team said after the period that his return was questionable. But teammates weren't surprised he fought through the injury.

"He's a warrior," C Nate Thompson said. "He's a guy that does everything. And he plays through anything. You saw that (Monday night), you know he's going to play no matter what. It's the playoffs; it's what it's all about."