Why yes, I am so lame that I watched the game online. Don't judge. Recap below:
Less than 48 hours after playing his first full game in the American Hockey League, Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro surrendered four goals on 39 shots in Bridgeport’s 4-3 loss at Worcester yesterday.
It remains unclear why the Islanders declined to divulge any information regarding DiPietro’s latest start, but his performance yesterday indicated he is still unready to return to the NHL.
DiPietro is 1-2-0 with 11 goals against and an .883 save percentage in four rehab appearances with Bridgeport this season.
In his quickest turnaround since appearing in back-to-back games in March 2008, DiPietro allowed two goals within one minute midway through the first period at the DCU Center yesterday.
Worcester’s Benn Ferriero tallied on the power play at 10:37 of the first and Cory Quirk scored on an even-strength deflection 57 seconds later.
Peppered with shots early, DiPietro looked much sharper for most of the second period. He robbed T.J. Trevelyan twice, with a glove-save on a breakaway and from point-blank range about three minutes later.
With 2:24 remaining in the second, Trevelyan’s shot from the left circle squirted through DiPietro’s pads, and Dwight Helminen swept the puck past the goal line, giving Worcester a 3-1 lead.
DiPietro let in his most questionable goal of the day in the third period when Trevelyan, who finished with a goal and two assists, circled behind the net and beat DiPietro five-hole with relative ease for the game-winner.
Although DiPietro faced a barrage of shots throughout the first two periods and made several quality saves, the last two goals given up may be an indication that his stamina still needs improvement.
DiPietro is currently on his second conditioning assignment of the season, a two-week stint that began when the Islanders sent him to Bridgeport this past Thursday.
During his second rehab game December 11, DiPietro was unable to finish the game, sitting out the third period because of tightness in his leg. The discomfort also forced him to miss what was originally scheduled to be his third and final rehab start the following Tuesday.
DiPietro subsequently underwent medical evaluation by team doctors and additional specialists before receiving medical clearance to play. It is unknown how many games the Islanders want him to play at the AHL level before targeting an NHL return, but DiPietro said earlier this week he won’t come back until completely ready.
“I’m not going to put the team’s chance to win in jeopardy just because I want to play,” DiPietro said Tuesday. “I like to think I’m a little smarter than that now.”