Rapid Reaction: Devils 2, Islanders 1

January, 19, 2013
1/19/13
9:45
PM ET
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The start of the 2012-13 season sure looked like a continuation of the 2011-12 campaign for the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders on Saturday night.

For the Devils, they managed to fight their way to a tight victory, like they did all through last season. For the Islanders, they once again just didn't have enough to take down one of their Eastern Conference foes.

The Devils defeated the Islanders, 2-1, in the teams' opener in front of a sellout crowd of 16,170 at Nassau Coliseum. The Devils controlled the action, taking nearly double the shots of the Islanders for a large portion of the game.

DEVILS' TOP LINES GO TO WORK: With Zach Parise gone to Minnesota, the Devils are going to need their top lines to step up this season. Saturday, their top two lines came through with a pair of goals.

In the second, Ilya Kovalchuk found Travis Zajac with a beautiful pass, and Zajac beat Evgeni Nabokov for the team's first goal of the year and a 1-0 lead.

In the third, just 65 seconds after the Islanders tied it, David Clarkson gave the Devils a 2-1 lead with 11:43 left.

AGELESS WONDER: Devils goalie Martin Brodeur had a fantastic game to begin his 20th season, allowing just one goal. The 40-year-old continues to play at a top level, and is a main reason why the Devils are able to win so many one-goal games.

DEFENSE AHEAD OF OFFENSE: When the NFL opened up after its lockout last season, the offenses seemed to be a few steps ahead of the defenses. Saturday, that seemed to be the opposite with the Islanders and Devils as both teams struggled to get their offenses going for most of the night. Both teams played solid defense, but their offenses just didn't seem to be as sharp as they normally would be. Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic scored the team's lone goal on a power play in the third.

MATTEAU DEBUTS: Devils' first-round pick Stefan Matteau made his debut and had some energetic shifts. Matteau, whose father, Stephane Matteau, eliminated the Devils with his double-overtime goal in Game 7 of the 1994 Eastern Conference finals, has six games to impress the team, or they can send him to his junior squad. Devils coach Peter DeBoer talked highly of Matteau during the team's morning skate Saturday.

BOOS FOR RICKY: Islanders fans showed their frustration with goalie Rick DiPietro by booing the former first-round pick during introductions on Saturday night. DiPietro, who did not get the opening night start in goal, has struggled to stay healthy during the first several years of the 15-year deal he signed in 2006 that still has nine years remaining. While he's saying all the right things and trying to do right by the fans and the organization, the fans showed they are still upset with DiPietro.

UP NEXT: The Islanders will host the Tampa Bay Lightning in a matinee on Monday at 1 p.m. New Jersey will have its home opener Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers at 7 p.m.

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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