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DiPietro takes shot off mask, leaves practice early

Brian Rolston's shot caught Rick DiPietro "in the crosshairs," as Jack Capuano put it, right near the temple, and damaged DiPietro's throwback cage goaltender's mask while also sending him off the Nassau Coliseum ice early during today's practice.

DiPietro was unavailable for comment afterwards and will be evaluated by a doctor later today. He hasn't played a game yet this season and missed six weeks last year with facial fractures that required surgery and a plate in his cheek, as well as the old-style mask to keep pucks from getting near his face.

"He seemed to be doing all right," Capuano said.

The Islanders host the Lightning on Thursday. Al Montoya has played the first two games, going 1-1-0 with a 1.53 GAA and .940 save percentage, so he might have been in line for a third consecutive start on Thursday regardless. Evgeni Nabokov has yet to dress in either game, with DiPietro serving as the backup.

If DiPietro has to miss any time, the Islanders do have the luxury of a third goaltender to work in.

"I don't really think about it like that," Capuano said. "You never want to see anyone hurt like that."

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