This evening on Long Island the Penguins and Islanders got a little out of control. In response to the Brent Johnson / Rick Dipietro fight last week, both teams took it up a notch tonight. Another goalie fighting, a player leaving the bench, a couple of brawls and some blindside hits. Here's the video of the first altercation of the evening:
Later in the third period with the game still out of hand, more shenanigans...
Not only does Islanders' Matt Martin's hit remind viewers of Todd Bertuzzi's sucker punch on Steve Moore, but you've got Eric Godard apparently leaving the bench to save Brent Johnson, much like Bertuzzi also did to earn himself a 10 game suspension
Will Eric Godard get 10 games? Will Matt Martin receive a significant suspension for his sucker punch? For the Islanders, this is obviously a statement game and may essentially be their Stanley Cup for the year. Beating the defending champions that badly on home ice, and dusting it up with the Penguins as well demonstrates that they are no slouch and are standing up for their fallen goaltender - Rick DiPietro. The Penguins meanwhile can ill-afford to lose more players to injury and now probably suspension. With Malkin and Crosby already out of the line up, what will happen to the Penguins down the stretch?
Kris Letang also took a vicious slash to the ankle from John Tavares so we will wait and see if the league hands out any discipline for that hit as well.
Tonight's tilt between the Islanders and Penguins caps off an interesting week with the previous match up between these two teams, as well as the penalty filled match between the Bruins and Canadiens earlier in the week. Given that this is not an isolated event, but the third excessively rough game in a week, expect the NHL to dole out hefty punishments to the most involved players this evening, Godard and Martin. Trevor Gillies may also receive discipline for his hit as well. The game featured so many fights and misconducts that officials are still finalizing the box score late in the evening to determine the final tally. At this moment, the penalties in minutes have reached 351 between the two teams.
Click here for more on the Todd Bertuzzi and Steve Moore incident form 2004.