Rapid Reaction: Islanders 4, Devils 3 (SO)

October, 4, 2013
10/04/13
10:01
PM ET
What it means: John Tavares' tenure as the 14th captain in New York Islanders history began with a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils, after his good friend and linemate Matt Moulson notched the game winner in the sixth round of the shootout. Both teams received ample secondary scoring, with the Islanders getting two goals and three points from Austrian winger Michael Grabner, and Swiss forward Damien Brunner tallying a pair of goals for the Devils.

Breakout night: Grabner's combination of blazing speed and skill but puzzling ineptitude on the breakaway has been a perennial frustration for Islanders fans over the years. He showed improvement Friday, however, when he split two Devils defenders and slipped the puck under Martin Brodeur's pads for his first goal of the season. He scored again in the second period, on a rush down the right wing. He didn't completely shake the perceived weakness, though. His bid for a hat trick was spoiled midway through the third period when he was all alone against Brodeur and got stuffed.

Stocking some skill: The loss of Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise in consecutive offseasons was a massive blow to the Devils' offensive attack. Though the team boasts depth with guys like Ryane Clowe, Michael Ryder and Dainius Zubrus, there is a dearth of top-shelf talent to ease the load from veteran Patrik Elias and centers Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique. That’s why the pickup of Brunner may prove to be a savvy one. The former Red Wing has speed and skill, and showed his nose for the net when he batted in a puck for the team's first goal of the season at 2:59 in the first period. He notched his second goal of the night by lifting a loose puck over Evgeni Nabokov's pads to knot the score at 3-3 midway through the third period.

Czech-ing line: Future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr started the game on a line with fellow Czech Elias and the ex-Ranger Clowe. Although loaded with skill and veteran experience, the line didn't exactly boast youthful exuberance. They were on the ice for Grabner's first-period marker at 8:07, and Jagr was on the ice for Grabner's second as well, which came at 13:43 of the second period.

Confusing behavior: It is still customary for fans to cheer after a goal is scored, no? A contingent of Devils fans went against convention and actually booed the team's first two goals, an indication they were not happy with the change in goal song. The Devils used to play Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part 2," before changing it to a Bon Jovi tune this season. Tough crowd.
Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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