February 02, 2011
The fun began with a collision between DiPietro and (who else?) Matt Cooke(notes) of the Penguins, with his team up 3-0 at home over the Islanders with 16.5 seconds left in the game. That led to a scrum in the corner and to Brent Johnson removing his mask, skating down the ice and challenging DiPietro to a fight. Johnson shoots lefty; that's the hand that dropped the Islanders goaltender.
(Luckily, it didn't appear DiPietro shattered on impact, despite being Rick DiPietro.)
DiPietro was given 2 minutes for interference and for leaving the crease, and 5 minutes for fighting (er, uh, taking a punch?). Johnson was given 2 for leaving the crease, 5 minutes for fighting, a 10-minute misconduct and a game misconduct. Here's a different slow-motion replay of the punch, via MSG and VERSUS:
After the game, Johnson said he’s actually no stranger to fisticuffs. "This is the first time [I've fought] in the NHL," Johnson said. "I had a couple fights in the minors and a lot in Juniors, but this is the first opportunity I’ve had and being up 3-0 and seeing [Dipietro] come out and hit one of our guys, so not a better opportunity than that and I jumped at it."
"Afterwards guys were excited," he said. "They didn’t know I had that little mean streak in me. It was something I’ve kind of wanted to do for a little while. Maybe a little frustration at some things and it just all came out tonight."
Katie Strang of Newsday reports that DiPietro "has a hell of a bruise brewing on his right cheekbone" and said of Johnson: "He has long arms."