Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro has been cleared to get injured again.
The hard-luck netminder will likely survive tonight’s game against the Penguins at Nassau Coliseum, as he’ll only be backing up Evgeni Nabokov. Although you never know. Pucks can fly into the bench pretty fast.
DiPietro has been out with a concussion since Oct. 12. In his absence, the Islanders (3-3-0) have been splitting goaltending duties between Nabokov and Al Montoya, with both performing well between the pipes.
DiPietro suffered his latest concussion in practice when a teammate fired a puck off his mask. The last time the 30-year-old appeared in a regular-season game was April 9 when he surrendered six goals in a 7-4 loss to the Flyers. His 2010-11 numbers were poor (3.44 GAA, .886 SV%).
So with three possible options in goal, who’s the official starter for the Islanders? The answer is still to be determined, according to coach Jack Capuano.
“Our goaltending right now is one of our strong points on our hockey team,” Capuano said today, as reported by the New York Post. “But is there a clear No. 1? No.”
It’ll be interesting to see how the Islanders handle the goaltending situation, because it’s more complicated than just figuring out who’s playing the best. There are salary-cap considerations as well.
If DiPietro were to be sent down to the AHL (as has been suggested in the past), that would mean his $4.5-million cap hit would come off the books, pushing the team under the cap floor.
It must be hard to be an Isles fan.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.
Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.
Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.
It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.
It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.
For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.
Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.
Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.
Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.
The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.
Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:
In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.
Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.
Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were without defenseman Olli Maatta for most of the first period of Game 2 after he was on the receiving end of a high, late hit from Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik.
The hit occurred early in the first period, well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck on a rush into the Washington zone.
Maatta, who nearly fell over as he tried to stand back up, was in obvious distress as he went to the dressing room. Orpik was given a minor penalty for interference on the play.