Punchless Islanders

The New York Islanders have only two points after the first three stops on a five-game road trip. If not for the goaltending of Rick DiPietro, they would have arrived in Calgary empty-handed.

The punchless Islanders hope to avoid a season high-tying fifth straight loss Friday night when they visit the Flames for the first time in six years.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Calgary -191 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 59% of bets for this game have been placed on Calgary -191 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

While DiPietro is undeniably the Islanders' best player, New York's last two wins came with seldom-used backup Wade Dubielewicz in net while DiPietro recovered from a knee injury.

DiPietro returned after a three-game absence against visiting Florida on Jan. 3 and allowed four goals on 32 shots in a 4-3 overtime loss. He was brilliant in the first game of the trip, though, making 37 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss to Colorado on Saturday.

After a mediocre performance in a 4-0 defeat to Edmonton on Monday, DiPietro had one of his best games of the season in a 3-2 shootout loss Tuesday at Vancouver. He stopped 18 of 19 shots faced in the first period and finished with a season-high 43 saves.

"We were in this game for one reason, and that was Ricky,'' captain Bill Guerin said. "He played out of his mind again. We played well in the second and third periods, but we needed to play better in the first to take the pressure off of him.''

New York is 0-1-3 in its last four games, one loss away from tying a five-game skid (0-4-1) set Nov. 29-Dec. 7.

DiPietro has made only one start against the Flames, stopping 28 shots in a 3-2 victory at Nassau Coliseum on Jan. 12, 2006.

The Islanders (20-17-5) could've easily been shut out for the second consecutive game Tuesday if not for fluke goals by Guerin and Blake Comeau.

Guerin scored his team-leading 15th goal at 6:26 of the second period. He threw a puck at the net from the corner and caught Vancouver's Roberto Luongo thinking the play was going to be called dead on an icing.

"I didn't really know what happened," Guerin said. "They had to explain what was going on. It was a break for us. We'll take it."

Guerin is the only Islander scoring with any regularity, tallying seven goals in his last nine games. Most of the other forwards are mired in prolonged slumps.

Miroslav Satan has one point in his last eight games, Trent Hunter has one goal in 16 contests and Ruslan Fedotenko has one goal in his past 23 games.

Calgary (22-15-7) was cooled off with a 3-1 home loss to Phoenix on Tuesday that ended its five-game win streak.

Alex Tanguay scored late in the third period for the Flames, who lost in regulation for only the second time in 18 games (12-2-4).

"The exceptional teams find a way to get energized night after night,'' coach Mike Keenan said. "And I'm talking about the exceptional teams and there is only one in the league right now and that's the Detroit Red Wings.''

Calgary's red-hot duo of captain Jarome Iginla and linemate Kristian Huselius was held without a point. The two had combined for 13 goals and nine assists in the previous five games.

Iginla has eight goals and five assists in 12 games against the Islanders.

New York had lost six straight at Calgary before a 3-1 victory on Jan. 15, 2002 in its most recent visit.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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