DP Returns But Isles Fall to Stars 4-3

Rick DiPietro finally made his long-awaited return, but the Dallas Stars got two-point nights from Loui Eriksson and Brad Richards and edged the visiting Islanders 4-3.

DP made 24 saves and picked up an assist while playing his first NHL game since January 2, 2009.  He looked a bit rusty at times but his overall performance was a good one considering the length of time he has missed because of injuries over the past two years.

“I’m not going to lie, I was nervous, but I got a chance to handle the puck
a couple of times, made a few saves and ease my way into it,” DiPietro said.
“The fourth goal was kind of a sloppy rebound on my part and that’s the kind of
stuff that comes back and bites you.”

The overall play was sloppy by both teams, especially in theh first 40 minutes, but the Stars made fewer mistakes in the end and were able to capitalize on many of New York’s miscues.

Toby Petersen gave Dallas a 1-0 just 4:44 into the game.  DiPietro could hardly be faulted on the goal as the puck changed directions after deflecting off the stick of Isles’ defenseman Brendan Witt.

Great hustle by Josh Bailey tied the game 1-1 at the 7:16 mark of the opening stanza.  Trent Hunter shot the puck into the Stars’ zone and goalie Marty Turco allowed a fat rebound.  Bailey followed up the shot and got his stick on the rebound just in front of the net and deposited the puck into the goal.  DiPietro was awarded an assist on the play, his first point on the new season.

The Isles took the lead with just 41 seconds left before intermission.  Bailey and Kyle Okposo came in on a strong forecheck and forced Stars’ defenseman Trevor Daley to cough up the puck.  Okposo took a one-timer that beat Turco who was out of position on the play.

Eriksson tied the game 2-2 at the 4:18 mark of the second period on a wrist shot from the deep slot.

The Isles regained the lead when Marty Turco attempted to play a puck he had caught in his glove.  Matt Moulson forced a turnover and sent the puck to Frans Nielsen who backhanded the puck into the empty Dallas net at 7:47.

The Stars didn’t give the Islanders much time to celebrate.  Brenden Morrow scored just 24 seconds later to even the score at 3-3.

Dallas netted the game-winner with just 3:13 left in the second period.  Eriksson made a nice move and released the initial shot before Richards pounced on the rebound and put it home.

“I was hoping the puck would come out, and sometimes they come right on
your stick,” Richards said. “I got lucky.”

The Islanders outshot the Stars 7-3 in the third period.  While they held the territorial advantage, they failed to get many quality shots on net.  John Tavares had the best chance to tie the game in the final minute after the Isles had pulled DiPietro for an extra attacker, but his shot from the right circle hit the post and the Stars held on for the victory.

The Islanders conclude their three-game road trip Saturday with a game in Glendale against the Phoenix Coyotes.  The Stars return to action Sunday when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets.

NOTES: 

The Stars are now 9-2-2 in their last 13 home games. 

Dallas was playing without center Mike Ribeiro who will be out 4-6 weeks after being hit by an inadvertant high stick by Christopher Higgins of the Rangers.

Sean Bergenheim remained out of the Isles’ lineup with a rib injury but he is very close to returning to action.

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