UNIONDALE, N.Y. - New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro was struck in the right eye by the stick of Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby in the second period Saturday night and didn't return.
New York coach Ted Nolan said DiPietro was hit in the eye, but added that he was able to walk out of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum following the 3-2 victory.
Islanders spokesman Chris Botta said the 26-year-old netminder did not suffer a severe eye injury, but DiPietro was taken from the arena to the office of team ophthalmologist Dr. Bruce Zagelbaum for an evaluation.
Botta said the doctor confirmed DiPietro did not have a major eye injury, but would not say whether he had any vision problems. He's listed as day to day and will be re-evaluated Monday.
Nolan hugged DiPietro before the goalie left the building.
"I just asked him how he was and he said he was all right," captain Bill Guerin said.
Crosby charged the net with just over six minutes left in the second period and his stick came up into the cage portion of DiPietro's mask. DiPietro immediately skated toward the blue line and was attended to by Islanders trainers before skating to the tunnel and the dressing room.
"He (Islanders defenceman Radek Martinek) lifted my stick under his mask," Crosby said. "I had no control over it."
DiPietro was examined at Nassau Coliseum by team physician Dr. Damion Martins and remained in the building until post-game ceremonies honouring Hall of Fame coach Al Arbour were completed. He declined to speak to reporters on his way out.
Crosby was given a four-minute penalty for high-sticking.
DiPietro is in the second season of a landmark 15-year contract with the Islanders. He was sidelined by two concussions 12 days apart late last season, missing the final seven games and the playoff opener. He also had off-season surgery to repair a tear in his left hip.
Wade Dubielewicz came on in relief of DiPietro on Saturday and stopped one shot in the second period and six more in the third to earn his first victory of the season.