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Islanders PK tested in 1-0 loss

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
In his first full 60-minute effort since last season, Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro saved 20-of-21 shots in the team’s fourth – and second to last - exhibition game of the 2011 preseason on Friday night.  David Clarkson’s power play goal at 11:28 in the first was all the New Jersey Devils needed in their 1-0 win at the Prudential Center in Newark.

“He made some key saves at some key moments in the game,” said Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano. “He made some timely saves… (He let up) a power play goal from the slot, but he made some good saves for us, especially on their power play tonight.

Rick DiPietrobraces for the shot from David Steckel #15 of the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on September 30, 2011. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Sharing time with six goaltenders in five preseason games, Capuano said unequivocally that he has confidence in DiPietro, who will not return to game action until the regular season begins as Evgeni Nabokov and Al Montoya share the net in the final exhibition game of the preseason.

“I think he’s played extremely well,” Capuano said of DiPietro. “The Boston game, he moved well. Tonight, he moved well. I thought he played a solid 60 minutes. His goalie touches were good. He was communicating with our D real well. I was extremely encouraged by his game tonight.”

DiPietro was also happy with how he felt through an entire game, but was disappointed with the loss.

The penalty kill came up huge for the Islanders. Even though the Devils scored a power play goal 11:28 into the first period, the Islanders took 11 penalties and efficiently killed 6-of-7.

“They had six power play shots in the first, out of their eight shots,” Capuano said. “So we had to change something. We changed a few things and I thought we had more jump in the second and third.”

Veteran defenseman Steve Staios, who signed a one-year contract earlier in the day, spent 5:01 on the kill. He said the team was prepared to play the Devils, who worked a triangle formation – something new this season.

Steve Staios takes the shot against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on September 30, 2011. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
“They threw a different look at us,” Staios said. “We knew it was coming. We gave up one power play goal and that was the winner, so you’re never happy about that, but there’s time for us to work on it and time for us to look at it. I thought we did a lot of good things, but you never like giving up a power play goal like that.”

However, with just 16 shots on net through three periods, Capuano said he would have like to see more players taking chances and shooting the puck when they have the opportunity.

“We passed up way too many chances to get the puck on the goaltender,” Capuano said. “We had shots that we could have taken that we passed up.”

Niederreiter Injures Groin
Rookie power forward Nino Niederreiter, who is make a serious case to make the Islanders roster this season, only played 4:32 before he made a check and tweaked his groin.

“We’ll take it day-by-day with him,” Capuano said. “He’s made a huge impact over the last week and a half, so we’ll know more once we talk to the doctors and see what’s up. He played extremely well for our coaching staff.”

Niederreiter tried to return in the second period, but knew something was wrong and left the ice.

“It felt like I had no strength on it,” Niederreiter said. “That’s why I felt like I should go off and see what it was. We don’t know exactly what it is so we’ll see tomorrow.”

The Swiss winger is still hoping to play tomorrow in the team’s final exhibition of the 2011 preseason, however he’ll have to wait and see until he’s been reevaluated by team doctors tomorrow.
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