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06 March 2007

Rick DiPietro makes 59 saves in 2-1 shootout loss to cross-town foes

Rick DiPietro shut the door for the Rangers with a 59-save performance last night, however he could not stop Matt Cullen in the shootout, giving the Rangers a 2-1 win over the Islanders.

Rangers 2, Islanders 1 (SO)

That was what I saw last night while watching Sportscentre at 11:00 on their ticker at the bottom of the screen, and then all of a sudden to the right of the score appeared the words: L-R. DiPietro, 59 saves.

The first thing that came to mind was "wow".

Despite the Islanders' loss, DiPietro shone all game long, making great saves and saving the Islanders from a potential embarrassing outing.

DiPietro made a team record 59 saves in a losing cause to the cross-town Rangers.

"It's my job to make as many saves as I can. I was able to do that for the most part," said DiPietro, who made a career-high 15th straight start. "It's always tough to lose."

The Rangers got an early 3rd period goal from Petr Prucha, ending DiPietro's shutout bid and what would be, an Islanders win.
After Prucha's goal, the Rangers pushed frantically for the lead, bombarding DiPietro with a meteor shower of shots for about 7 minutes in a row.

DiPietro came up one save shy of putting the Rangers away and heading to the showers, but he could not stop Matt Cullen in the 2nd round of the shootout, allowing the only shootout goal of the night.

"It was a good move," DiPietro said of Cullen's goal. "He made a quick shot."

Jason Blake scored the Isles' lone goal on a power play in the first period, sending a shot past Lundqvist that caromed off of newly-acquired defenceman Paul Mara and to the back of the net.

Henrik Lundqvist himself played a great game, obviously overshadowed by DiPietro's performance and continued to be phenomenal in shootouts, notably stoning Randy Robitaille on the final shot of the tiebreaker.

With this win, the Rangers move up to the 10th spot, one point behind the 9th place Canadiens, and two behind the 8th place Hurricanes.

The Islanders remain in the 7th spot with a solid 94 points and it seems now, barring any late-season losing streak, they have locked down a playoff spot.
Bleu, Blanc et Rouge.

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