The New York Islanders have had plenty of their games decided by one goal this season. Thanks to Rick DiPietro, they've won their fair share of them.
DiPietro and the Islanders look to keep rolling when they meet the Montreal Canadiens for the first time this season Wednesday.
New York (11-6-0) won for the sixth time in eight games Monday, concluding a four-game road trip with a 2-1 victory over the archrival New York Rangers. It was the Islanders' seventh straight one-goal game and 11th in 17 contests this season, and they've won eight of those.
DiPietro has appeared in all 11 of the one-goal games, winning seven and losing three.
"We have to give Ricky a lot of credit," said center Josef Vasicek, who has a team-high eight goals for the Islanders after scoring six in 63 games with Nashville and Carolina last season. "He's stood tall. He's given us confidence in our game."
Vasicek registered a point in his fifth straight game when his goal gave the Islanders a 2-0 lead in the second period Monday. DiPietro made 18 saves to pick up the 100th win of his career.
"It means I've been in the league a couple of years, I guess," said DiPietro, in the second season of a 15-year contract with the Islanders. "It's a long way to go and hopefully a lot more wins."
DiPietro, the first goalie ever drafted No. 1 when the Islanders took him in 2000, has stopped 44 of 45 shots in leading New York to consecutive victories.
"You need your best players to step up and he's done it all season," Islanders coach Ted Nolan told the team's official Web site.
DiPietro will now face a Montreal team that fell 4-2 at home to Ottawa on Monday for its third loss in five games. The Canadiens (11-6-3) outshot the Senators 38-29, but only got goals from Guillaume Latendresse and Chris Higgins in failing to reduce Ottawa's lead in the Northeast Division.
"It may look like we had chances there, but if you want to win against those guys, we have to play a lot tighter defensively," Canadiens captain Saku Koivu said.
Montreal is in the midst of playing eight of 11 on the road, where it is 6-3-1 this season. New York, meanwhile, begins a stretch of six of eight at home, where it has won four straight and is 7-2-0 on the season.
The Islanders have dominated the Canadiens at Nassau Coliseum over the last 10 years, going 12-4-0 with one tie in 17 meetings since an 8-2 loss on Jan. 8, 1998.
One of those four defeats, however, came Dec. 7, when Montreal put 36 shots on goal against DiPietro and scored four times. DiPietro went on to win his next two starts versus the Canadiens to improve to 4-5-0 with a 2.34 goals-against average lifetime against them, with three of the four victories coming on Long Island.