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Islanders-Maple Leafs: Rick DiPietro Returns to Stop the Bleeding!

Nick DeSilvioCorrespondent IDecember 26, 2008

The New York Islanders defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight by a score of 4-1.

Rick DiPietro was finally back behind the net tonight for the reeling New York Islanders, the losers of 10 straight games. 

In his first game back from injury, DiPietro kept it simple. He showed no signs of being rusty, despite missing pretty much the entire season thus far. 

The Maple Leafs out-shot New York early on, but D.P. backed up his team with solid net minding and held Toronto to only one goal while shutting down all of their power play opportunities.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Josh Bailey nearly had his first NHL goal, but the puck ended up being deflected by team Captain Bill Guerin, who tapped in his 399th career goal.

Guerin later scored his second goal of the game, lifting him into the 400 goal club. He is only the eighth American-born player in league history to do so. 

Andy Hilbert went into the locker room after laying out to block a puck struck by one of the strongest slap shots in the game. The puck bounced hard off his foot, where he now suffers a hairline fracture.

This is a bad loss for the already depleted and injury-plagued Islander team. Hilbert was playing his best NHL hockey after being reunited with his former AHL coach Scott Gordon, but he will now be out for anywhere from four to eight weeks.

Tonight's game was very pleasing to watch from an Islander fan perspective, but I'd be scratching my head if I liked the Leafs because they were thoroughly dominated on all spectra of the game.

DiPietro's presence was a big key to the Islanders' victory. In one game he has already given his team a breath of fresh air. 

Ricky himself could exhale a sigh of relief as well because he picked up his first win since Feb. 28 of last season. Hopefully he can stay on the ice because I don't want to wait another 10 months to see another Rick DiPietro victory!  

Congratulations again to Bill Guerin for getting his 400th goal.

And sorry to Keanu Reeves who came to Long Island to watch his favorite team get owned by New York. Maybe it was that ugly beard he was growing.

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