Scott Gordon just said there is a "good chance" that Jeff Tambellini rejoins the lineup tonight after serving as the healthy scratch the past nine games.

Not sure who that leaves as the odd man out if Tambellini gets the green light, but if I had to guess I would think maybe Rob Schremp sits this one out and Josh Bailey moves back to the pivot (although I  thought  he looked pretty good on the left wing). It also could be Nate Thompson, who has seemed to catch every errant puck/skate to the foot/eye etc and may be a little banged up....

Guess we'll have to wait and see come game time.

***

Matt Moulson said he and linemate John Tavares had some good bonding time yesterday, after going to see Avatar (Tavares gave it a thumbs-up). Maybe that will be the key to snapping both of their slumps.

Moulson has not scored a goal in eight games, and is pointless in the past six. Tavares has 1 goal in the past 8 games, and two points in the last nine.

I asked Moulson if he'd given the chicken-parm- lucky-charm  a chance lately (earlier this season,  his fiancee cooked that for both him and Tavares for lunch before they had a big game). Apparently, he tried it Sunday, but to no avail....

Moulson did say, however, that he was encouraged to see Zack Parise go through a lengthy  12-game slump and break out of it with two goals last night against Atlanta.

No doubt both Moulson and Tavares hope they can do something similar tonight.

To battle through, Moulson said he's just tried to focus on the other areas of his game and wait for the bounces to fall his way.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"You can't really get frustrated, that's just detrimental," Moulson said, "As long as I'm getting chances they'll find the back of the net at some point."

Because Moulson and Tavares are the team's top contributors, there is some added pressure to score.

"I think we both want to win so badly and help the team, that there's always pressure to score for the team. We both want to be the guy to score," Moulson said.

Tavares said he's been through similar streaks in his career and is taking it in stride considering it's his rookie year.

"Slumps happen and sometimes it can be mentally hard, but that's just when you've got to dig down deep, push and try to just simplify your game," Tavares said.

"I've just got to believe in myself. I'm only 19,  I've done a lot and I know I can do a lot more," Tavares said.

One thing that has likely been tough for Tavares in his rookie season, Scott Gordon said, is the lack of practice time with the compressed schedule.

"It's a hard thing for any player and especially a 19 year-old to just be asked to blend in and live up to  the expectations of being a No. 1 pick," Gordon said, "and also because he's had the success he's had so early. Everybody wants it all the time, and he wants it all the time too."

Gordon said it's possible both Moulson and Tavares' slumps have some carryover effect on each other, but that they are both working hard to fight through it.

"Right now John and Matt are not having the same success as they were having early in the year, but the effort has been there," Gordon said. "They just need to get through this week and move forward."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

***

After his second consecutive day of practice this week,  Rick DiPietro said he felt good and was getting excited to return to game action (The Islanders are aiming for him to play in a game for Bridgeport this weekend).

"I feel great and I'm looking forward to getting into a game," DiPietro said. "it's exciting. How the process works is to just see how my knee responds to activity and so far it's responded well."

DiPietro said when he feels 100% him and others in the organization will make a collaborative decision on his return. He will not. however, do that until he's absolutely read and confident he can help the team.

"I'm not going to put the team's chance to win in jeopardy just because I want to play," DiPietro said. "I like to think I'm a little smarter than that now."