A couple of things before the Islanders go for their third straight victory and fifth in their last six a few hours from now at the Coliseum:
Rick DiPietro will start tonight, according to Greg Logan's Newsday blog post earlier today. DiPietro dodged a bullet with that high stick Saturday night, and it will be good to see him between the pipes tonight.
The Rangers are coming off a 2-0 shutout victory over the Flyers last night, giving them a 5-1 homestand that saw Henrik Lundqvist allow just two goals. He is red-hot, with four shutouts already, and the Rangers PK has killed 22 straight man-down situations.
Everybody's pal Sean Avery is back with the Blueshirts and dropped his gloves in the first minute of the Philly game. Although the first Isles-Rangers meeting was fairly quiet, expect the presence of Avery - not to mention Hollweg and Simon - to yield some fisticuffs before the night is through.
A message to Avery: Mary-Kate Olsen? Talk about trading down. Going from Elisha Cuthbert to Olsen could give you the bends, it's that deep a drop. Meanwhile, TMZ.com may be at the barn tonight given the chance that Olsen and Mike Comrie's squeeze, Hillary Duff, could be in the same building. Imagine that - the Nassau Coliseum, paparazzi paradise.
Also, a word about the Jim Baumbach item in Newsday - Chris Botta is absolutely right. That was pure drivel and completely pointless. Baumbach needs to know that no one in the NHL shares his feelings, and that the Islanders and their fans see through his lame attempt at generating controversy. One wonders if he really feels that way. And if he's aspiring to be the next Wally Matthews, he should set his sights higher.