Rick DiPietro will be in net tonight against Buffalo, marking his first appearance of the season at home.

DiPietro, who has not played at Nassau Coliseum since December 26, 2008, said he's excited about the opportunity.

"It's been a long time since I’ve played in this building. We’ll see what happens. I’m sure there will be nerves. but I was lucky enough to get a game in Dallas and get my feet wet," DiPietro said. "It's a big game for us. Every game is a big game so hopefully I'll go in contribute and we’ll get a win."

The fact that each game does have meaning and playoff implications makes it all the more important for DiPietro to prove he not only can stay healthy but also is capable of delivering results.

"Health is definitely a main goal here but I don’t want that to overshadow the fact that I want to play well and have results. When youre back in the NHL, all that matters is goals and wins. That along with health are the main things. The wins are what is really important," DiPietro said.

That said, DiPietro is confident he'll return to his old self.

"You put very high expectations on yourself," DiPietro said. "Coming back, you'd like to say there's no rust, but when you finally get in you realize that maybe there is some rust. It's hard to come to grips with that, but I fully expect myself to be back to the way I was playing before I was injured."

When asked if he was excited for the day when DiPietro's start doesn't warrant a huge story, Gordon deadpanned : "Yeah, can we start today?"

All joking aside, Gordon was very insightful about DiPietro's return, painting it as a much more successful and open endeavor compared to last year.

"This year he has been so honest with everything with the doctors and trainers, he knows where he stands and followed his rehab protocol to a T. He’s done everything you could ask. Last year, I think there was probably some frustration and disbelief that he was injured as bad as he was."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"Looking back on it, I never felt I really knew how bad he was hurt. He did a good job of making us believers and to his credit he wanted to play."

"Unfortunately, he had an injury where you couldn’t fool your body, it just wouldn’t allow him to do the things he needed. This year he didn’t try to hurry it up, he went about it the right away."