The New York Islanders received some unwanted news just one game into the new season as the team learned that goaltender Rick DiPietro has swelling and fluid around his surgically repaired left knee.
The 27-year old DiPietro was expected to start Friday's opener against the New Jersey Devils, but was a surprise late scratch as Joey MacDonald took his place between the pipes, making 27 saves in a shootout loss.
DiPietro, who has been plagued by knee injuries throughout his career, underwent meniscus surgery in June and played in only one of the Islanders pre-season games. Islanders head coach Scott Gordon stated that he rested his number one for pre-cautionary reasons.
"If we were to lose the first three games of the year and he is better for it, then we are a better team for it,'' Gordon told the CANADIAN PRESS following the loss.
The loss of DiPietro for any significant time would be a crushing blow to the Islanders who would be in tough to compete in the East even with their All-Star keeper fully healthy. The Winthrop, Massachusetts native was enjoying a career year last season before injuring his knee during the NHL All-Star skills competition this past January.
DiPietro posted a 26-28-7 record with a 2.81 goals against average and a save percentage of .902 last year.