All six Islanders goalies have had a crack at playing part of the first three preseason games. Now, it's time to separate the pack a bit.
Rick DiPietro, Evgeni Nabokov and Al Montoya will almost surely get all the work in the final two preseason games, Friday at the Devils and Saturday versus the Bruins in Bridgeport, Conn. Those are the three goalies who will start the season with the Isles. Now, the task for Jack Capuano and his staff is to decide who starts, who backs up and who sits heading into the Oct. 8 opener against the Panthers.
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"We probably are leaning that way," Capuano said of separating the above three goaltenders from the kids -- Kevin Poulin, Anders Nilsson and Mikko Koskinen, who are ticketed to begin the season in Bridgeport. "Over the next few games, we'll get a better feel for who we want in there opening night."
DiPietro had a strong start, stopping 20 of 22 shots in two periods of work last Friday in Boston. Montoya didn't face much traffic or pressure in his 30 minutes on Saturday against the Devils, and Nabokov got his first taste on Tuesday night in Calgary, stopping 15 of 16 shots in 40 minutes of work.
The three-goalie roster doesn't faze DiPietro, for one. "I've been here with four on the roster," he said. "Nothing changes my approach, unless I'm rehabbing an injury. There's only two things you can control: How well you prepare and how cool your equipment looks."
Nabokov said before the 20-man crew left for Calgary earlier this week that he might need more than just a couple periods to prepare for his first regular-season NHL action since April 2010. "I don't think 40 minutes is enough for me personally," he said. "We'll see. I don't make those calls."
As for the rookies, there could still be a crowd for them in the AHL. Nilsson has a clause in his contract that allows him to return to play in Sweden, but he said he's not interested in going back. It's more likely that Koskinen could be loaned to an East Coast league squad to get playing time.
Notes & quotes: Forwards Tomas Marcinko, Tim Wallace and Trevor Frischmon and defensemen Ty Wishart and Dylan Reese were placed on waivers Wednesday. All are expected to clear so they can start the season with Bridgeport . . . The team will honor the 1992-93 Wales Conference finalist squad before the Oct. 29 home game against the Sharks. Pierre Turgeon, Steve Thomas, Benoit Hogue and Patrick Flatley will be among the players from that team on hand.