Rick DiPietro, who shut out the Devils, 4-0, on Monday, gets another crack at them Saturday night. It will be the third game in eight days for the comebacking goaltender.
Although the Islanders are looking for wins, they're also looking out for their one-time franchise player. DiPietro has won two straight starts, but Scott Gordon isn't going to get crazy and start over-using DiPietro.
"We're not just looking at Rick coming back from a major injury in a short amount of time. He's been off the ice for a while," Gordon said. "And it's not just about what he does on the ice this year, but his career. We want to approach this with the mind-set that let's build things up and not try to rebuild in a two-week period, with six games in 11 days."
DiPietro has had to temper his expectations from the old days, when if he were healthy, he would have been the No. 1 goaltender, no question about it. After missing a full year, DiPietro is in no position to demand time.
"It's different circumstances now," DiPietro said after practice at Nassau Coliseum. "I'm happy to contribute whenever I can. I didn't expect to come back after a year off and have it be exactly the same as before."
Dwayne Roloson, who is sporting a 19-8-6 record - the 19 wins are the most by an Islanders goaltender other than DiPietro since Chris Osgood won 32 games in 2001-02 - has played too well to be shunted aside, as demonstrated again in the Isles' 2-1 shootout win over the Panthers on Thursday.
"We have a luxury in a guy like Rollie; there's no drop-off in performance," Gordon said. "That makes it easier for how we handle Ricky."
And DiPietro can have the luxury of not pressing himself into action or shading the truth about his injuries, as he did last season in an attempt to get back to his old All-Star standing.
"I've said it a couple of times: You take for granted all those things you complained about in the past, all those little things that used to bother you," DiPietro said. "Now I come to the rink every day with a positive attitude and I hope all the hard work I put in pays off."