Rick DiPietro and Dwayne Roloson will continue to share the goaltending load for the Islanders, with Scott Gordon saying Tuesday that DiPietro and Roloson will split the upcoming games in Raleigh Wednesday night and Ottawa Thursday night.
Even though the numbers say the goaltenders are playing at different levels - DiPietro has a 3.75 goals-against average and an .867 save percentage in six games, Roloson has a 2.40 goals-against average an a .918 save percentage in five - Gordon is sticking with his plan to get both goaltenders equal work through the first half of the season.
For DiPietro, the work means getting back into the flow of a regular season, something he hasn't had in three years.
"There's a lot more that goes into playing a game than just stopping the puck," DiPietro said after the Islanders practice at IceWorks Tuesday. "Communication with your teammates, learning the tendencies of your own guys - it's not like I stepped back in with the same six [defensemen] I played with for five years. It takes time."
Gordon said DiPietro's numbers aren't entirely based on rust.
"There are things in front of him that have to be better," Gordon said, particularly referencing the 6-1 loss to the Flyers on Saturday in which DiPietro gave up all the goals and got a couple of minors for leaving the crease.
"You'd like to have 80 percent of your quality chances be stopped," Gordon said. "Is he at that point yet? No. But we have to have that from whoever's playing net."
DiPietro was on the ice in Syosset before practice, doing some extra work with goaltending coach Sudarshan Maharaj. For the bulk of the last two seasons, extra work was all DiPietro was going to get.
Now, he has to balance his practice workload with his game workload, the way he once did when he was the 65-game-a-year goaltender.
"You just try to sharpen up the little things," DiPietro said. "I'm not really concerned with the numbers besides wins. We've had a couple games that went to OT, and the one the other night got away from us.
"But there's going to be ups and downs, regardless of whether I played the last two years or not."
Notes & quotes: Rob Schremp (back) will make his season debut Wednesday night against the Hurricanes, likely centering Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau. "With Schrempy, we just have to make sure he doesn't try to win the Stanley Cup for us in one night," Gordon said of the excitable Schremp. "He's in a lot better shape than he was last year, and the confidence is always there."
Sign up for Newsday’s Islanders texts with a 14-day free trial at newsday.com/islestext.