Who would have believed this?
The New York Islanders further aided their Manhattan cousins Thursday night, defeating the Penguins 5-3 to complete a stunning sweep of the home-and-home series.
To add to Pittsburgh's ignomy, captain Sidney Crosby was bloodied after a shot by New York defenseman Dylan Reese hit him in the face early in the second period.
Playing in his ninth game since returning to the lineup, Crosby lay on the ice for about a minute before skating off to the locker room under his own power.
After getting some repairs, Crosby returned midway through the period, appearing none the worse for wear. Still, it had to be a huge scare for the Penguins since Sid the Kid has missed more than 60 games this season while recovering from concussion-like symptons.
So what is going on with the Penguins, who had gone 14 games without a regulation loss but have now dropped three in a row?
For one thing, goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury did not play well in the two games against the Islanders, giving up nine goals, and that could be a concern for the Penguins heading into the playoffs. The Islanders won 5-3 in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
Another concern is that Pittsburgh's lead over fifth-place Philadelphia has been reduced to two points. The teams still have two games left, so the Penguins could lose home-ice advantage in a potential first-round series with the Flyers if they don't catch the Rangers atop the Eastern Conference.
The Rangers now have a chance to increase their lead over the Penguins to seven points on Friday against the Canadiens.
You wonder if some Islanders felt funny cheering Thursday, knowing they were helping the team they despise the most.
A friend, who is an Islanders' fan, is definitely not happy, not only because the Islanders helped the Rangers. He felt they should have tanked the two games against the Penguins to get a better draft pick.
Trailing 4-1, the Penguins came on late, pulling within 4-3 on Evgeni Malkin's 47th goal after pulling Fleury for an extra skater.
The Islanders were probably fortunate to get the two points. You got the sense that the Penguins would have tied the game if it lasted another few minutes.
Josh Bailey sealed the win with an empty-netter, giving him a five-point night with two goals and three assists.