In his first career NHL Skills Competition, Rick DiPietro
was nearly flawless as the East All-Stars defeated the West All-Stars 9-6, Saturday night at Phillips Arena. Wearing a microphone for the VERSUS telecast, DiPietro played on-ice broadcaster throughout the competition.
During the final event, Islanders fans got a scare when DiPietro made a marvelous save on Marian Gaborik with his left pad and appeared to be injured. DiPietro told reporters after the competition that he was a little sore, but would still be okay to play in tomorrow's All-Star Game.
DiPietro took part in three events, including the re-vamped relay race, which involved a stickhandling, saucer pass, one-timer and goaltending leg. In the goaltending leg, DiPietro scored two of three goals from his own goal line in the far net for his heat. DiPietro was one of four goalies to score more than one goal.
Later in the competition, DiPietro was in goal for the Elimination Shootout competition. He used a quick glove to stop Mike Ribeiro, who thought he had DiPietro fooled. Then DiPietro stopped Gaborik for a perfect two-for-two in the event.
Prior to the final round of the Breakaway Challenge event, which judged skaters' breakaway creativity, DiPietro gave some humorous advice to teammate Ilya Kovalchuk: "Kovalchuk should light the puck on fire or light himself on fire, and then do a back flip on the ice."
DiPietro's request wasn't fulfilled, but the Islanders netminder made sure not to allow any goals by him in the event. Facing Gaborik once again, DiPietro wasn't fooled by the shifty forward from Minnesota, stopping him twice. On the second attempt, DiPietro out-waited Gaborik's initial deke and then stopped his wrap-around attempt with a full post-to-post extension.
The NHL All-Star Game will take place tomorrow at 6 pm on VERSUS.Catch the latest Rick DiPietro at the All-Star Game videos on Islanders TV.