6:42 pm, Bridgeport - It’s Rick DiPietro’s first hockey game in eleven months and we are here. If he makes it through healthy, he’s expected to play 20-30 minutes.
6:44 - DiPietro makes it through warmups! (and the Pulitzer is in the mail).
7:00 - The DiPietro Effect on Sound Tigers attendance? Minimal. There are about 1,000 fans here. Line of the night already by Brian Compton of nhl.com: “Greinke must be pitching.”
7:07 - Game begins. In a suite at center ice: Charles Wang, Garth Snow, Rick DiPietro, Sr.
7:09 - DiPietro plays dump-in on way to net, throws sweet outlet pass to center ice. Tens roar.
7:10 - Makes first save, a glove stop in traffic off a wrister from Johan Motin at the point.
7:12 - Matt Martin makes it 1-0 for Bridgeport at 3:40 of the first. The Charles Wang owned-and-operated Sound Tigers play Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll (Part 2)” as the goal song.
7:19 - Eight minutes in and DiPietro has still only seen the one shot.
7:20 - Comes far out of the goal to play the puck. First “Hey DP, stay in the friggin’ net” of the season is shouted.
7:22 - Cue Gary Glitter: Greg Mauldin makes it 2-0 Bridgeport.
7:27 - Shots are 11-2 Sound Tigers. Maybe Jack Capuano should tell the boys during this broadcast timeout to loosen up the D.
7:30 - The unofficial DiPietro statline so far: 2 saves, 2 clean clears, 2 turnovers. 5:34 left in the first.
7:33 - Perty, perty goal by Jesse Joensuu at 16:09. 3-0 Sound Tigers.
7:34 - Rick has now received more goals from his Sound Tigers in one period than Marty Biron has gotten all season.
7:35 - Springfield power play. Hit the net, fellas.
7:37 - They did not.
7:41 - End of the first period. Shots 15-3 Bridgeport. I’m not exaggerating: DiPietro has not had to bend his knee, go into a split or break a sweat.
7:42 - Arthur Staple of Newsday, Dan Martin of the Post, Compton of nhl.com and the clown from FanHouse grab some popcorn and Diet Coke and try to figure out what to write about.
8:00 - Second period begins. DiPietro still in goal.
8:03 - On first shot of second period, DiPietro allows a very soft goal. Motin’s 70 mph slap shot without traffic sails through DiPietro’s five-hole. The rehab assignment takes a different turn.
8:06 - First back-to-back saves handled cleanly by DiPietro. If he doesn’t get much more action, will he play entire second period?
8:11 - Springfield makes it 3-2 on their seventh shot of the night. This goal, a top-shelf backhand by Geoff Paukovich is not a softie.
8:15 - Rick comes way out of the net again, then a sarcastic cheer from the two guys in Section 102 when he plays the next chance without incident.
8:21 - Springfield ties it up at 3-3. Bill Thomas bangs in Liam Reddox’s pass from behind the net. Three goals on nine shots – not a good night for DiPietro.
8:30 - DiPietro makes solid save on Springfield power play.
8:31 - As you might expect after being away almost a year, the sharpness is just not there. DiPietro gives up a big rebound on a shot he’d usually handle with ease.
8:32 - After Springy hits the post, DiPietro makes his best stop of the game by far – a glove save in close on Vladimir Trukhno.
8:34 - Rick’s night is over, presumably. He made ten saves on 13 shots.
8:53 - Scott Munroe in for DiPietro to start the third period. Word has it Nathan Lawson is a little banged up.
9:02 - Greg Moore makes it 4-3 for Bridgeport.
9:04 - DiBo makes it 5-3. Munroe will get the win.
9:05 - Trevor Gillies beats the boogers out of Kip Brennan.
9:21 - Matt Martin decisions Alex Plante, the first round pick Edmonton acquired in the Ryan Smyth trade. It’s 6-3, by the way.
9:25 - DiBo makes it 7-3.
9:36 - Munroe makes 15 saves in the third. The Sound Tigers win, 7-3. A strong night for all of the Islanders prospects. They knew the GM was in the house!
10:00 - After a hug from Charles Wang after the game, DiPietro meets the media:
“A lot of work to be done.”
“Good to get out there and shake the rust off. You can only do so much in practice.”
“Tomorrow’s a big day. I’ll do my treatment and hopefully wake up tomorrow feeling good.”
Comments on this post only. Continue discussion of Islanders-Tampa Bay game in next thread. Thanks for the updates.