UNIONDALE, L.I. -- The Sabres arrived on Long Island just in time to meet the Islanders' franchise goaltender. Rick DiPietro, who has missed the past five games with a groin strain, will return tonight and play against the Sabres.
"I’m ready to come back 100 percent, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity," DiPietro said in Nassau Coliseum.
DiPietro is just 6-6-4 with a 3.46 goals-against average and .889 save percentage this season, but he had turned around his game before the Jan. 3 injury. He is 4-1 in his last five decisions.
"You’ve got to give a lot of credit to the team and their ability to play," DiPietro said. "We’ve made little tweaks to our system. Our D-zone has been better. I can’t say enough about our defensemen blocking shots and clearing the front of the net. I think in the last couple months we're a team that’s getting a lot more confidence."
The Isles are 7-4-2 in their last 13 games and eager to get DiPietro back.
"Ricky’s a great leader for this team," left wing Matt Moulson said. "He’s been playing great in net, so it’s good to have him back and see that he’s feeling better."