For the New York Islanders and goalie Rick DiPietro, Wednesday night’s 3-0 loss in Pittsburgh hurt in more ways than one.
Not only did the host Penguins get the better of the team with the second worst record in the NHL in the scorebook, but they also got the better of the rare fight between a pair of goalies.
In front of a little over 18,000 fans at the first-year Consol Energy Center, Tyler Kennedy and Chris Kunitz beat DiPietro, while Max Talbot ended a long scoring drought with an empty net goal. For Pittsburgh, Sidney Crosby (concussion) and Evgeni Malkin (sinus infection) were scratches once again for a team contending with the Flyers, Lightning and Capitals for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Pittsburgh has now won seven of its last eight contests.
Goalie Brent Johnson turned away 20 shots before he left with 16.5 seconds left in the game. Johnson’s departure came due to a scuffle with his opposing netminder.
DiPietro, who has had issues with Penguins winger Matt Cooke, vacated his crease and knocked Cooke down in the last minute of play, leading to Johnson charging down the ice to confront DiPietro, where he dropped the Isles goalie with a left.
“That was amazing,” Talbot told The Associated Press. “If anybody in the league didn’t know that (Johnson) is a lefty, they do now. He deked the referee and he threw a bomb.”
Johnson cost himself his 15th career shutout after being given a 10-minute misconduct. Marc-Andre Fleury had to finish the game, meaning a combined shutout for the duo.
“There were 16 seconds left, we were up 3-0, and I saw him (DiPietro) come out and hit one of our guys,” Johnson commented. “Not a better situation than that.” Johnson added it was his initial NHL fight.
For the New York Islanders on this night, there was no fight to be had.
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Written by Dave Thomas