It has been an offensive free-for-all in the early going for the Islanders. They have scored 22 goals, second in the Eastern Conference, behind only the explosive Lightning through six games. But now comes a true measuring stick: two games in four days against the ever-stingy Devils and future Hall-of-Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur, who have yielded an NHL-low nine goals. "It seems like every year we play a home-and-home with New Jersey and they're never easy," said center John Tavares, who leads the Islanders with eight points, two goals and six assists. "We have to make sure we're ready to play." The Devils lead the Islanders by a point atop the Atlantic Division and won the season opener between the two teams, 2-1. "They obviously have been really tight in their own end, and Marty's really playing well with the puck," Tavares said. "We got to make sure we're making smart plays, especially around their blue line and around the red line [tonight] to try and keep pucks away from him and make it tough on their defensemen so we can create some momentum offensively." Most impressive in the Islanders' fast start in the opposition's end has been their scoring balance. Though Matt Moulson and Michael Grabner lead the team with four goals apiece, they have received production from all four lines. "We have a lot of skill," Tavares said. "We have a lot of talent. We have a lot of guys who've had success in their first few years in the NHL." Despite the young talent and skill Tavares referenced, coach Jack Capuano sees the Islanders' high goal tally as the result of hard work in the offensive end, his team's desire to win the battles along the boards, take a hit and stay in front of the net for rebounds and deflections. "We're getting to those tough areas," he said. "If you look at a lot of the goals, they're in the paint.''
Isles gear for stingy Devils
New York Post | Jan 31