Calvin de Haan defends against Chris Conner #23 of the...

Calvin de Haan defends against Chris Conner #23 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period of a game at Nassau Coliseum. (Dec. 3, 2013) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Calvin de Haan's ability to play a smooth, calm game in his season debut Saturday was happily noted by several members of the Islanders' front office. De Haan has had to live up to the pedigree of being a first-round pick, and his numbers in Bridgeport have been decidedly unflashy -- he had a goal and two assists in 17 games before his recall.

But his game is perhaps better suited to the NHL level, where he's still a rookie trying not to do too much and is being placed in position to succeed, rather than trying to do everything to be noticed in Bridgeport.

"It's a little easier game up here, but it's also harder, if you know what I mean," de Haan said. "You're playing with the best in the world, so when you look for an outlet, you know your guy's going to be there. But you're also playing against the best, so you have to work twice as hard to win pucks and be in the right position to make plays."

De Haan had his "Welcome to the NHL" moment Tuesday night, getting beat by Sidney Crosby in overtime for the winning goal.

But de Haan started the game facing off against Crosby's line and had done a good job of keeping the Penguins star in check at even strength all night before the quick turnover in the overtime.

Same lineup

Jack Capuano saw enough good from Saturday's game to keep the same lineup, meaning Brock Nelson, Eric Boulton and Radek Martinek were the healthy scratches and Anders Nilsson made his second consecutive start in goal.

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