Rick Dipietro, Islanders first overall draft pick, Islanders number one goaltender, and generally all around good guy. Islander Nation was all smiles when it was announced that Dipietro has been cleared to play. That smile, although splitting their faces from ear to ear, was tinged with a little bit of worry.
Dipietro suffered 2 concussions within a week of each other and has been out of regular action for a good amount of time. Backup Mike Dunham struggled to fill Dipietro's outstanding play. Enter 8th seed savior Wade Dubielewicz. Dubielewicz played admirable during his shot at the drivers seat, winning 4 games in a row to propel the Isles to a ticket to the playoffs.
The Buffalo Sabres showed Dubielewicz exactly what they thought of that. Driving the Islanders back into their zone all night, Buffalo skated away with a 4-1 win in game 1. Dipietro hopes he can make a positive impact for the seemingly timid Islanders.
"I can't tell you how great it was to be out there with my teammates. If I get the chance, I look forward to getting back in goal and helping the team win." Said Dipietro after a full practice on Friday.
The Islander faithful hope he returns and hope he is really 100% and not rushing himself back. That leaves Dubielewicz waiting for word on who gets to play Saturday night at the HSBC. While he let in 4 goals, Dubielewicz did not disappoint the fans or the coach with his play, but the return of Dipietro might be exactly what the Islanders need.
While Buffalo defenseman Brian Campbell says, "I don't think a goaltender can change too much," I am not sure he knows exactly what Rick Dipietro means to the New York Islanders and their faithful fans.
Here is to Game 2 and a split series heading to Uniondale!
Lets. Go. Islanders.