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UNIONDALE, NY - FEBRUARY 13: A New York Islanders ice girl tends to the ice during a timeout against the Tampa Bay Lightning on February 13, 2010 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

 

Updated 5:10 Were just hours away from opening faceoff at the coliseum. If you haven't heard already, Rick Dipietro will get the start tonight against Dallas. "He's ready," stated Scott Gordon yesterday. "I like the way he played the last game, he made some big saves. It's been a long wait for him to be ready for the start of the year. He's put a lot of time in to get to this point and you certainly want to reward him for all the hard work he put in."

On the other end of the ice will be former Thrasher net minder, Kari Lehtonen. Lehtonen stopped 27 of 30 shots against New Jersey Devils in their 4-3 win last night at the Rock.

Speaking of last night's game, Scott Gordon did do some scouting of tonight's opponent watching on T.V, which he prefers because he can use his "coaches clicker." As for the game at hand Gordon believes establishing a fore-check in the first five minutes of play. "Play a low risk game, establish some momentum and then stay out of the penalty box. It's never a good way to start a year killing penalties. So we want to get everyone involved quickly and build off what we do in the first five minutes."

According to Islanders Point Blank this is tonight's opening night line up;

Forwards

Comeau - Tavares - Parenteau

Moulson - Nielsen - Hunter

Bailey-Weight - Niederreiter

Gillies- Konopka - Sim

Defensemen
Mottau - Wisniewski

Eaton - Martinek

Jurcina- MacDonald

I'm a tad surprised to see that Jack Hillen is a healthy scratch. Very reliable last season and highly praised by Scott Gordon. Grabner is not a surprise to be sitting in the press Box.

Also in case you haven't heard Rex Ryan will be in the house dropping the puck. Should be exciting to see the most entertaining and out spoken coach in all of New York. Hey maybe he'll rub off on Scott Gordon, Imagine. "Let's play some New York Islanders F#@*ing hockey. Now let's have a snack!"

Blog Box Reminder:
Make sure to check out Dee Karl's Islanders 7th women, Tony Stabile of Hockey Independent, Isles Blogger Michael Schuerlein, Ken Dick of okposo.Net, and Gary Harding of Eye on Isles who will all be there tonight covering the game.

Here is a prediction from Austin W at Blackout Dallas: The Dallas Stars enter the second game of the new season as a team with a "rebuilding" label. The team has a very capable offense behind Brad Richards and a trio of young forwards in Loui Eriksson, James Neal, and Jamie Benn. Also captain Brenden Morrow and center Mike Ribeiro seem to be in their best shape and look to return to their 2008 form when the two were key in the Stars making a solid playoff run.

The rebuilding is within the defense and in net. The "keys to the car" have been handed over to Kari Lehtonen. If he stays healthy, this team makes the playoffs. But if he and the defense can not improve, then it will be another long season in Dallas.

Look for the top line of Neal, Richards, Eriksson to provide a lot of offense, as they accounted for 3 of the teams 4 goals last night in NJ. Also young defensive minded blueliners Grossman and Fistric will be relied upon to step up a lot this season for the Stars.

I predict: Stars 4, Islanders 2 tonight.