ANAHEIM, Calif. -- There's little doubt that there will be fallout from the Penguins' dismal performance Wednesday in a 5-2 loss at Dallas.
Just what form it takes remains to be seen, starting tonight against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.
"Hopefully, it's in a good way," said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who had swollen right knuckles after fighting the Stars' Matt Niskanen and sat out practice Thursday but is expected to be available tonight.
"You're going to lose games where you play well. At the same time, you don't like having that feeling that you didn't give yourself a good enough chance. That was probably the feeling a little bit after the game and [Thursday], but we've got to be better. That's the bottom line. We have a lot of guys who care, and we'll look to bounce back."
Anaheim coach and former Penguins defenseman Randy Carlyle comes down on the side of those who believe the Penguins will play with fire in their bellies.
"We're going to play a team that is very, very desperate in the sense that they want to rebound off of the [Wednesday night] game in Dallas," he said.
Penguins veteran defenseman and alternate captain Brooks Orpik has enough experience to know it's impossible to predict how the Penguins will react, but he is eager to find out.
"I think it's different with every group of guys. Even the year we won the [Stanley] Cup, that season was full of turmoil," he said. "It's a test."
Orpik believes only hindsight will tell whether the off night was some sort of turning point, a low point or just a blip.
"I view it as a challenge more," he said.
Crosby's fight created a lot of headlines in the hockey world, but he called it simply a response to what happened earlier when teammate Kris Letang and Dallas' Brenden Morrow fought.
"I was upset with what happened with [Letang]," Crosby said. "It's not something that you plan. It's instincts sometimes. That's the way it felt. That's what happened.
"It doesn't mean that I'm going to do it every game. It could be another two years before it happens again."
Crosby, in his sixth season in the NHL, has fought five times -- against Niskanen, Marek Zidlicky, Keith Ballard, Brett McLean and Andrew Ference -- and has done nothing to show that he can't handle himself in those situations.
Carlyle figures there was a little more premeditation than Crosby let on.
"If you noticed who was on the ice when Crosby went out there, there was [Eric] Godard and [Mike] Rupp. I don't think those are his regular linemates," Carlyle said, with a smile. "I'm sure that something was said somewhere along the line, and somebody knew that something was going to happen in that situation.
"Those so-called superstars -- and that's what Crosby is -- they don't fight that often. Then again, it's showing that he's standing up for his team and is making a statement that they're not going to be pushed around, if that's what they felt was happening [Wednesday] night. That should shake some people up in the lineup. If he can do it, well, there are more people that can do it.
"Those are things within the game that leaders have to do at certain times."
Winger Pascal Dupuis, who flew home Wednesday to Pittsburgh for the birth of daughter Lola, was scheduled to rejoin the team Thursday night and should be available tonight, coach Dan Bylsma said. ... Anaheim defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, who had two assists and logged 26 minutes, 13 seconds of ice time Wednesday in a 3-2 overtime win against Tampa Bay, was given the day off.
Shelly Anderson: email@example.com . First Published November 5, 2010 4:00 AM