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Kevin Poulin to start vs. Stars

Islanders goaltender Kevin Poulin makes a save against

Islanders goaltender Kevin Poulin makes a save against Atlanta. (Feb. 1, 2011) Credit: AP

Kevin Poulin played 10 games for the Islanders last season before a dislocated kneecap ended his surprising run in February.

With a few more veteran goaltenders in the mix, the 21-year-old Poulin didn't figure to get as much of a chance to play with the big club this season, which was going to be the best thing for his development.

But he's back and starting his first Isles game Thursday night, with Rick DiPietro (groin) on injured reserve and Evgeni Nabokov (groin) not quite ready to return.

"It was really stressful last year because I never played in that league before," said Poulin, who was 4-2-1 with a 2.44 GAA in 10 appearances. "This year, it's just another hockey game."

Poulin had a rough start to this season in Bridgeport, needing to shake off the rust from missing so much time with the kneecap issue. He's 6-7-0 with a 3.37 GAA for the Sound Tigers.

Calvin de Haan makes his NHL debut tonight on defense, in place of Steve Staios (upper body). De Haan, the 12th overall pick in 2009, will likely begin the night with Dylan Reese, his Bridgeport defense-mate for the first two months of the season.

"It's a dream come true," de Haan said of his Isles debut. "I've just got to play simple. I may play 30 seconds or 30 minutes, so I just have to do what I do best and not try to be someone I'm not."

New York Sports