PITTSBURGH -- Brent Johnson figured a chance at a knockout
was much rarer than a shot at a shutout.
So he took it.
The Penguins' veteran backup stopped 20 shots and was 16.5
seconds away from his second shutout of the season when he was
ejected after fighting with Islanders counterpart Rick DiPietro
late in Pittsburgh's 3-0 win over the New York Islanders on
"The guys didn't know I had that little mean streak in me,"
said Johnson, who has 14 career shutouts, but had never fought in
the NHL. "It was something I've kind of wanted to do for a while.
Maybe it's just a little bit of frustration about some things."
A league source told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun Thursday that neither goalie will face further discipline.
The game officially goes into the record books as a team
shutout because No. 1 goalie Marc-Andre Fleury played the final
"Johnny was sick," Fleury said. "He's a righty, first of all,
and he goes in as a lefty. That was awesome. He was so calm, so
relaxed. It was just boom! His expression never changed. It was
just boom, and that was it."
Angered that DiPietro had swatted Penguins forward Matt Cooke
with his blocker, Johnson skated all the way from his crease to the
Islanders' end of the ice. He dropped his gloves at the blue line
before engaging with DiPietro.
Johnson sent DiPietro to the ice with a clean left just above
his right eye.
"I didn't intend to hurt anyone or anything," Johnson said.
"It was just a lucky punch."
DiPietro's face was visibly swollen with a welt after the game.
"It's a fight. Things happen," DiPietro said. "He's got long
Malkin has been practicing recently and is expected to return
soon. There is no timetable for Crosby to rejoin the lineup. The
Penguins lost another center, Mark Letestu, who injured a knee
during Tuesday's morning skate in New York.
Pittsburgh received some good news Wednesday when the NHL
rescinded an automatic one-game suspension for center Jordan Staal,
who was ejected Tuesday night after he delivered a gloved punch to
the head of Rangers forward Brandon Prust.
Pittsburgh is 7-3-1 without Crosby, who was leading the NHL in goals and points when he was injured.
Fleury stopped 29 Islanders shots in a 1-0 win Jan. 25, and
the Penguins have allowed only 12 goals in eight games.
Pittsburgh has 11 consecutive home victories against the
Islanders, who were angry long before the Johnson-DiPietro fight. Winger Blake Comeau laid on the ice for a few minutes after Talbot
delivered a blind shoulder-to-shoulder hit in the first period.
"Looking at it, it was a dangerous hit," Islanders forward
Zenon Konopka said. "We're not happy, and we're not happy with the
outcome of the game. We have to remember this."
The teams meet again on Feb. 11 on Long Island.
Kennedy scored his eighth goal 8:08 in, a bad-angle shot when
the rebound of Paul Martin's shot from the left point squirted to
him on the right side.
The Islanders have allowed the first goal in 13 of 14 games and
are 5-25-4 in games in which they trailed 1-0.
New York's deficit doubled five minutes later when Kunitz scored
for the fifth time in eight games, a backhander as he drove to the
net down the right wing.
Talbot added an empty-net goal in the final minute for his 100th
career NHL point.
Johnson, making his third start since Dec. 22, had one of his
best saves midway through the third when he gloved a slap shot from
the left point off the stick of Travis Hamonic. He also stopped
Jack Hillen from in close in the final period.
Still, it was the goalie fight that drew most of the
conversation after the game.
"I guess you don't see it that much in today's NHL, but
obviously back when assistant coaches and I played you saw it all
the time," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "It was one of
those things. There was some scuffling going on toward the end of
the game in the corner and I guess [Johnson] thought he had to come
The Islanders have lost six of eight and haven't won in
Pittsburgh since Dec. 21, 2007. ... The Penguins are 17-2-2 against
the Islanders at home in the past 21 meetings and 13-1-2 in the
last 16 overall. ... There have been 11 total goals in the four
games between these teams this season.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.