Rick DiPietro is back on injured reserve, the swelling in his surgically repaired right knee still not allowing him to get on the ice after he last tested it Saturday morning.

That means for the next two games, Wednesday at home against the Lightning and Thursday in Newark against the Devils, Jack Capuano will choose between Dwayne Roloson and 27-year-old rookie Nathan Lawson, who got the surprise start in Saturday's 4-3 shootout loss to the Coyotes.

Roloson, who hasn't won in his last 12 starts (0-11-1) dating to Oct. 18, said he was no more upset about not starting Saturday than he would have been had DiPietro been healthy and gotten the call.

"You can't worry about things you can't control, and [who starts] is out of my control," Roloson said. "Someone else got the opportunity and it was his first game. I had to do whatever I could to help him and help the team."

That meant the 41-year-old Roloson talking to Lawson during TV timeouts and between periods, advising the rookie on opponents' tendencies.

Now that Roloson and Lawson are the goaltending duo for the short term - DiPietro's IR stint is retroactive to Saturday, so he's eligible to return for Sunday's game with the Canadiens - Roloson is focusing on getting a start. He's only played twice in the last six games, covering 18 days.

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"It affects everyone that doesn't play for a while," Roloson said of the inactivity over the last three weeks. "You just do stuff in practice to simulate games, and I've been working with Sudsy [goaltending consultant Sudarshan Maharaj] and Mike [Dunham, goaltending coach] whenever they're here."

Capuano reiterated his stance from Saturday: None of the Islanders goaltenders has earned an automatic start with the team's record at 6-18-6. "It's not like we've been winning games," he said. "We have to figure out who gives us the best chance to win every night."

Notes & quotes: D Mike Mottau, who has missed the last 10 games after taking a deflected shot off his eye, is out for the season with a torn labrum in his right hip that will require surgery. Mottau, 32, is signed for another season at an $800,000 salary-cap charge.