The Pittsburgh Penguins showed some fight in their most recent game to get back in the win column. Sidney Crosby showed he can fight too - with more than his scoring ability.
The Penguins look to build off their captain's third three-point game of the season and first-ever fighting major by winning for the third time in four games as its hosts the New York Islanders on Friday at Mellon Arena.
Crosby had a goal and assisted on two others in the Penguins' 5-4 shootout win over Boston on Thursday. He also picked up his first five-minute fighting penalty in his 194-game NHL career when he fought Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference in the second period.
"I don't know if it was during the whistle or during the play but I just remember him punching me and his glove came off," Crosby said. "It's not something I'm going to make a habit of, by any means."
Crosby registered all of his points in the first period, scoring his 16th goal around two by second-year star Evgeni Malkin. Pittsburgh (17-15-2) is 10-1-0 when Malkin and Crosby score in the same game.
The league's reigning scoring champ should be happy to see the Islanders. Crosby has 34 points in 18 career games against the Islanders, scoring at least one point in each of his nine home games against them.
The Penguins have won two of three against the Islanders this season, with all three games ending 3-2.
Pittsburgh's victory over the Bruins was a microcosm of its streaky season. The Penguins jumped out to a 4-0 lead midway through the second period, then allowed Boston to score four goals in 21 minutes before regrouping to win in the shootout.
The Penguins are 5-1 in shootouts this season, and have won 14 of their last 16 dating back to last season.
Consistency has been an issue for Pittsburgh. The Penguins have gone through a stretch where they lost six of seven games and another where they won seven of eight. Six of their 13 regulation losses have been by three goals or more - including their last three such defeats.
New York (15-15-2) has been in a steady free fall since the end of November. The Islanders are 2-7-1 in their last 10 games, and lost 2-1 to Buffalo on Wednesday despite outshooting the Sabres 43-17.
"We did everything but score," Islanders captain Bill Guerin said. "We have the hard work part down, but it's still a loss."
A lack of scoring has plagued the Islanders all season. Their 71 goals are fewest in the league, and New York is the only team that doesn't have a player with at least 11 goals.
The one area in which the Islanders have excelled has been close games, going 12-6-2 in one-goal games despite losing their last two such contests.
New York goaltender Rick DiPietro also is trying to snap out of a funk. He's been in net in nine of the team's last 10 games, going 2-6-1 with a 2.88 goal-against average.
Prior to Nov. 29, he'd been 12-7-1 with a 2.29 GAA.
DiPietro is 8-6-1 lifetime against Pittsburgh but with a 3.43 GAA. He's 0-2-0 this season, but the Islanders did win when DiPietro started against the Penguins on Nov. 3 before leaving with an injured right eye.