DiPietro gives Islanders hope

Rick DiPietro's stellar play has Islanders followers wondering if he can be the key to playoff success.

Updated: March 24, 2004, 11:59 AM ET
By By Jim Wilkie | NHL Insider
Trading Vezina Trophy candidate Roberto Luongo to Florida in 2000 still ranks among New York Islanders general manager Mike Milbury's worst decisions, but the young goalie who took over as the team's goaltender of the future is starting to make his boss look good.

Rick DiPietro stopped 17 shots Tuesday night in New York's 3-0 victory over Washington as the 22-year-old recorded his second consecutive shutout and pulled the Islanders (35-27-10-4) closer to clinching their third consecutive playoff appearance.

"He probably sees the puck as a big balloon coming at him right now," Islanders defenseman Kenny Jonsson told Newsday.