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Bailey out for tonight; DiPietro in net

 Josh Bailey (hip pointer) is out for tonight's game, which shouldn't be too much of a surprise given coach Scott Gordon's comments yesterday.

Basically, the team feels that even though Bailey may very well get through the game fine, they risk a 1-2 week setback if he does take a hit to that spot. This way Bailey has four days off to rest and recover until the team's next game, Wednesday in Montreal.

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After a terrific 28-save game Thursday in Tampa--Scott Gordon called it his best this season--Rick DiPietro gets the nod again tonight against the Panthers.

Assuming Roloson plays Wednesday in Montreal, he'll have had eight days off between starts.

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I asked Garth Snow yesterday whether the team had made a decision yet on rookie Nino Niederreiter. Snow said they had not. They'll have two more games until the 9-game grace period is up and his fate is determined.

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Michael Grabner, who has two goals and one assist in six games for the Islanders this season, will face his former team tonight.

Grabner was traded to the Panthers in the Keith Ballard deal during this June's draft, but was subsequently waived after a poor training camp.

"It's not their fault. I didn't show why they traded for me," Grabner said. "They had to do what they had to do. I'm just trying to get my game back to where it needs to be and help this team win."

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As reported yesterday, Jack Hillen will replace the injured Andrew MacDonald in the lineup tonight. After blocking a shot in Thursday's 3-2 OT win over the Lightning, MacDonald underwent surgery to repair a broken hand and is expected to be out 4-6 weeks.

Hillen, who was scratched for five of the first seven games, eagerly awaits his opportunity.

"Gordon talked to me and just told me to keep it simple," Hillen said. "I'm just going to try to not do too much and if I get the opportunity to jump into the play, I have to do that smartly."

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