After breaking through against the Penguins and scoring 22 goals in their first six games, the Isles travel to New Jersey to face the Devils, whose stingy system yields very little to just about everyone around the NHL, and even less to the Islanders, who have scored exactly one goal in each of their last five games against last season's Stanley Cup finalists.
That includes this shortened season's opener 12 days ago, a 2-1 loss in which the Islanders played smart, but not quite patiently enough.
"It's important you don't get frustrated playing those guys," Frans Nielsen said after the Islanders' practice Wednesday at IceWorks. "We can't get down or be surprised if we've only got, like, 12 shots on goal after two periods. We have to wait for our chances."
That would be a sign of progress, just as Tuesday was. After three straight road games in which the Islanders had a few too many defensive lapses, they played a patient game in Pittsburgh and counter-attacked well to earn a Devils-style victory.
"We have to understand there are games you need to win 1-0 or 2-1," Jack Capuano said. The Isles did beat the Devils, 1-0, on March 4 last season, but have lost, 5-1, 2-1, 3-1 and 2-1 in the last four meetings. "They do what they do. We have to focus on what we need to do."
Notes & quotes: RW Colin McDonald received a two-game suspension for his hit on Penguins D Ben Lovejoy on Tuesday. "I was on that team [Pittsburgh] last year, those guys know the way I play, our guys know the way I play," McDonald said. "I'm not out there to hurt anybody." . . . D Travis Hamonic (ankle) sat out practice but will play Thursday night. F Josh Bailey (knee) plans to take his first practice with the team this week.