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DiPietro ending long absence with start vs. Stars

by Dave Lozo
For the first time in more than a year, goaltender Rick DiPietro will take the ice for the New York Islanders.

According to the team, DiPietro will get the start Friday night in Dallas, his first since Jan. 2, 2009.

The 28-year-old has been recovering from and rehabbing knee surgery after appearing in just five games last season. He made four conditioning starts for the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers, going 1-2-0 with a 3.31 goals-against average and .883 save percentage before being recalled to the Islanders on Monday.

While with Bridgeport, he removed himself from a game on Dec. 15 with leg cramps that were not related to his knee injury.

It's been an injury-riddled career for the American-born goalie who signed a 15-year, $67.5 million contract in 2006. He's had surgery on both knees and his hip, and has also had concussion problems.

The Islanders are currently carrying three goaltenders -- DiPietro, Dwayne Roloson and Martin Biron. General Manager Garth Snow signed Roloson and Biron this offseason while DiPietro was working his way back.

"Is it ideal? No," Snow said. "But we just have to make sure things go smoothly. If something presents itself we'll do it.

"Worst-case scenario, we have three No. 1 goalies at the deadline. It's not a bad situation, it's not a great situation."

Roloson and Biron have split time this season, but Roloson has performed far better. In 29 games, Roloson is 16-7-6 with a 2.76 GAA and .913 save percentage. In 17 games, Biron is 2-11-2 with a 3.22 GAA and .900 save percentage.

DiPietro's best season was 2006-07. He went 32-19-9 with a 2.58 GAA and .919 save percentage. The Islanders lost to the Buffalo Sabres in five games of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs that season.

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