P.A. Parenteau (the P.A. could stand for Proving Again) once more has been demonstrating that, given the opportunity, he can come up with the goods. What he provided to the Islanders' top line a year ago -- 20 goals and 33 assists as something of a reclamation project after seven minor-league seasons -- Parenteau has reprised in the team's first four games of 2011-12: six assists (tied for the league lead), one goal and a sense that he and linemates John Tavares and Matt Moulson are evolving a form of mental telepathy among themselves.

"Sure hope so," said Tavares, whose five goals and eight points likewise equal the NHL's best. "I feel we're complementing each other with the styles we play."

This after Parenteau spent training camp working on third lines because rookie Nino Niederreiter so impressed coach Jack Capuano with "his size and the way he was creating space" that Niederreiter had replaced Parenteau on the Tavares-Moulson line. Then Niederreiter went down with a groin injury before the season opener.

When Niederreiter returns -- and he still hasn't resumed skating -- Capuano theoretically will have a minor quandary. "Yeah," Capuano said, "but I don't really think about it. I just think day to day, honestly. Nino's progressing well; when he comes back, we'll decide. But that line obviously has played really well the last few games."

Parenteau, though he always has played on the wing, considers himself "more of the playmaker on the line. I like to play like a center, slow down the game a little bit, make some plays, make some decisions with the puck. [Moulson] is more of the guy doing the good job in front of the net, hand-eye coordination. Johnny does a little bit of everything, a very special player, so I think we've got a little bit of everything."

The three have put some real teeth into the Islanders' offense, and Tavares tipped the figurative hat to Parenteau's "competitiveness. But we've got a lot of guys with a lot of talent. It's a long season, a lot can happen, so it's always nice when a guy gets hurt, someone can come and fill in. Makes us that much better, I think."

Notes & quotes:G Rick DiPietro (concussion) skated on his own Monday, as did D Milan Jurcina (groin). D Andrew MacDonald, recovered from hip surgery in the spring, was given the day off but will return to full practice Tuesday.

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