The New York Islanders scored four goals against the Carolina Hurricanes Monday night, but it wasn’t enough to get the win thanks to the lackluster play of much-maligned, overpaid goaltender Rick DiPietro. In their previous 11 games, the Islanders had managed at least a point in every game in which they scored at least four goals. The team can’t play Evgeni Nabokov every night, but it continues to be clear that DiPietro will never live up to his contract and will hold back the Islanders when they have to start him.
The Islanders now find themselves on a five-game losing streak and will face tough division opponents in their next three games. DiPietro gave up five goals on 30 shots on Monday in taking his second loss in his second appearance of the season. The former first overall draft pick only made eight appearances for the Islanders last season due to injury and went 3-2-3 with a 3.73 goal against average.
The Islanders haven’t had a full season out of him since 2007-08 and he hasn’t had a winning record since the 2006-07 season (and only three times in his entire career). Under a ridiculous $4.5 million per season contract until 2021, DiPietro continues to be a thorn in the side of team with young talent and the potential to be on the playoff bubble.
Nabokov has done what he can this season and has a 4-5-1 record with a 3.00 GAA. The team isn’t always strong in front of him, but he is a much better option than DiPietro at this point. Prospects Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson each saw some time in the NHL last season and are currently in the AHL with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Neither fared well in limited action last season, which further limits the Islanders’ options.