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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Friday, January 8th (All times eastern)

New York Islanders (18-18-8) at Dallas Stars (18-14-11), 8:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - It has been over a year since Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro last played in an NHL game, but that could all change Friday night. DiPietro is expected to be available again this evening when New York visits the Dallas Stars and American Airlines Center for the first time in over three years.

The top overall pick of the 2000 draft, DiPietro has been out of action since January 2, 2009 due to multiple knee surgeries. The 28-year-old has also battled groin and hip issues in his career and has played in just 130 games since signing a 15-year contract extension on September 12, 2006, including a mere five appearances last season.

DiPietro had been rehabbing with Bridgeport of the American Hockey League before being recalled on Tuesday. He then served as the backup to Dwayne Roloson in Wednesday's 3-2 victory, with Martin Biron, who has made 15 starts this year, the healthy scratch.

It is thought that DiPietro will make his season debut at some point on New York's current three-game road trip that began in Colorado and ends tomorrow in Phoenix.

Roloson, meanwhile, made his 29th start on Wednesday and posted 30 saves, including a pair of excellent glove saves in the third period. Kyle Okposo scored with 3:17 left in the third period for the game-winner, as the Islanders won for the fifth time in seven games (5-1-1).

Jon Sim potted his seventh goal of the year and Rob Schremp capped his first two-point game of the season with a highlight-reel power-play goal in the second period. After Frans Nielsen's shot was deflected high into the air by Avalanche netminder Craig Anderson, Schremp, stationed to the right of the net, gloved the puck down before swatting it out of midair and into the net.

The goal was initially waived off, but video review changed it to a goal, Schremp's third of the season.

"I knew it was below the crossbar. My first thought was to get the puck down so it wasn't a high stick. I do not know if I will ever do that again, but I had to give it a try," Schremp said.

New York, three points back of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, has a point in four straight on the road (3-0-1) and is 8-10-6 as the guest this year.

The Stars, meanwhile, aim to avoid their first four-game losing streak of the season, and Wednesday's 5-2 setback to the Rangers marked the first time this year that Dallas has lost three in a row in regulation.

Brad Richards had a goal and an assist, Jere Lehtinen scored and Marty Turco turned aside 20 shots for Dallas, which has been outscored 12-3 over its skid and is 0-for-11 on the power play in that span.

"We just lost three in a row. It's going backwards and we're going to have to fix it," said Richards, whose team is 11-5-5 at home this year and six points back of a playoff spot in the Western Conference..

Dallas will be without Mike Ribeiro for the next four-to-six weeks after he was hit in the neck by the stick of New York's Chris Higgins. Ribeiro underwent a procedure to repair a contusion and has 10 goals and 23 assists this season.

Ribeiro had a goal and four assists in Dallas' 5-3 win over the Islanders on October 23 last season, the Stars' second in a row in the series after a six- game winless streak. New York is still 2-0 with a tie in its last three trips to Dallas, where the teams haven't met since November 15, 2006.

DiPietro started that game last season for the Islanders, allowing five goals on 29 shots.

01/08 10:50:29 ET

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