New York Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro has a shot at his fourth straight home shutout Saturday. The goaltender that will be at the opposite end of the rink also knows a few things about shutouts.
Although it’s not the only reason, DiPietro’s strong play has been a big factor during the Islanders’ (19-14-3) surprising start. He has been particularly good lately, recording shutouts in back-to-back starts before that streak ended at 156 minutes, 30 seconds during the first period of a 2-0 loss Wednesday at Ottawa.
DiPietro hadn’t allowed a goal since Carolina’s Scott Walker beat him early in the third period of the Islanders’ 5-1 road loss to the Hurricanes on Dec. 23.
“I can tell you honestly I don’t really pay any attention to the shutout streak or anything like that,” DiPietro said. “The biggest stat you can have is wins and that’s all we were focused on tonight.”
The Islanders have won four straight at home—the last three by a combined 12-0 score. DiPietro, who has stopped the last 91 shots he’s faced at Nassau Coliseum, matched Ron Hextall’s club record of three consecutive home shutouts, set from Feb. 15-27, 1994.
This game also provides New York with an opportunity to pull within two points of Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey (21-13-3).
“I’m looking forward to continuing to win games,” DiPietro said. “We’ve got to try and create some separation in the Eastern Conference, and the only way is to consistently win.
“This is a big conference game and a division game, and the Devils are playing really well of late. So we’ve got to have a good game.”
DiPietro has been superb lately against Brodeur and the Devils, winning five straight starts while allowing only seven goals. Brodeur, meanwhile, has been on the losing end in each of those five games and has surrendered 11 goals in the last two meetings with New York.
Islanders captain Alexei Yashin had five goals and nine assists during a 10-game point streak that was snapped in Wednesday’s loss. Yashin has two goals and six points in his last two games against New Jersey.
Brodeur didn’t record his second consecutive shutout Friday, but made 32 saves as the Devils extended their division lead with a 4-3 victory over Washington.
“It’s one of those nights where you have to work hard to win,” Devils coach Claude Julien said. “I think our team gave a good effort against a team that wasn’t going to quit.”
Scott Gomez had two goals and an assist for New Jersey, which has won three of four overall. The Devils lead the Eastern Conference with 13 home wins.
Brodeur was in net Tuesday for a 3-0 victory over Pittsburgh, the 85th shutout of his career which moved him past Hall of Famer Glenn Hall into sole possession of third place on the career list. Brodeur’s five shutouts this season ties him with Detroit’s Dominik Hasek for the league lead.
Devils forward Patrik Elias added a goal and two assists Friday, giving him four goals and five assists during a five-game point streak.
New York has won two straight at home against the Devils, both by shootout.
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