Rick DiPietro gives up five goals in AHL start, gets pulled

Rick DiPietro of the Islanders looks on from

Rick DiPietro of the Islanders looks on from the bench during the third period against the New Jersey Devils. (Feb. 3, 2013) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

HARTFORD, Conn. --Rick DiPietro's first night back in the AHL was a short one.

His Bridgeport Sound Tigers teammates left Connecticut players open all over the defensive zone in the first period of Friday night's 7-3 Whale win at the XL Center, and DiPietro allowed five goals on 12 shots.

"I'm disappointed, obviously," DiPietro said. "It's really not the start or the result, I don't think, anyone wanted. Tomorrow is a new day. I'll get back on the ice tomorrow and just get better."

Rookie goalie Kenny Reiter, who is on an AHL contract, replaced DiPietro for the second period. Bridgeport coach Scott Pellerin said DiPietro will play Saturday at home against Adirondack.

"I'm very upset in the way our team played in front of him," Pellerin said. "We didn't execute our game plan. It was like we were waiting to see what he was going to do instead of playing our game."

The Islanders sent down DiPietro last Saturday after he cleared waivers. He got three days of practice with Bridgeport, which is winless in seven games and was the worst in the AHL entering Friday night's game with 3.35 goals allowed per game.

In a Thursday interview, DiPietro made comments to News 12 that suggested he considered suicide while working his way back from the injuries that short-circuited what had been an All-Star career. He later denied that he meant that literally and said the controversy was no distraction, though he did say he was devastated by the demotion and didn't see it coming.

The Whale scored power-play goals on its first two shots in the first four minutes. Chris Kreider, sent down by the Rangers on Thursday, was left open to DiPietro's left to redirect Logan Pyett's pass at 2:59. Just 56 seconds later, Brandon Segal finished off Kris Newbury's left-to-right pass.

DiPietro made a glove save on former teammate Micheal Haley's left-circle wrister and got a pad on a bouncer that redirected off a Sound Tiger. But he didn't appear to see Mike Vernace's left-point shot that went through a screen and over his blocker on the Whale's eighth shot.

The Whale made it 4-0 at 16:29 on its 10th shot, a two-on-one between Christian Thomas and Brandon Mashinter that gave Thomas an open net.

DiPietro attempted to move the puck away from his net on the backhand with three minutes left in the period, but it caromed around the front of the net, off teammate Kirill Kabanov's skate and in for the Whale's fifth goal in 11 shots.

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