Kevin Poulin believes he's ready as Islanders' backup

Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin stops a shot against

Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin stops a shot against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period. (Feb. 18, 2012) (Credit: AP)

BUFFALO -- Kevin Poulin may have envisioned his first call-up of the season to be under different circumstances, but with the Islanders waiving Rick DiPietro and sending him to Bridgeport, Poulin is back with the big club.

"It's not quite what I had in mind, but I'm here and I'm going to make the most of it," said Poulin, the 2008 fifth-round pick who had a 15-14-3 record and 3.22 goals-against average with the Sound Tigers this season. "Lately I've been feeling great on the ice. Maybe it doesn't show stat-wise, but I feel like I'm making the saves I need to make."

Poulin struggled in the earlier part of the season, but he emerged as the starter for Scott Pellerin's team when Anders Nilsson struggled and then had injury problems.

DiPietro was given the weekend off by Islanders general manager Garth Snow, so he won't report until sometime this week. The Sound Tigers are so thin in goal that they started ECHL call-up Kenny Reiter, with goaltending consultant Steve Valiquette, 35, signing a tryout contract to dress as the backup.

Poulin, who has a career 6-6-1 record and 2.67 GAA in 16 appearances with the Isles the last two seasons, will back up Evgeni Nabokov.

"At one point, every goaltender has to do that," Poulin said Saturday. "I'm just going to embrace every chance I get to play."

Streit denies reportMark Streit flatly denied a Swiss-language publication report that he's been "hiding" a knee injury from the Isles that he suffered while playing in Switzerland during the lockout. Streit leads the Islanders in ice time, averaging 25:42 a game.

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