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PA Parenteau happy with Devils; Capitals forward Daniel Winnik impressing teammates with Movember mustache

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

When PA Parenteau signed a one-year contract with the New York Islanders on July 2, the 33-year-old right wing thought he was going to get a chance to play with John Tavares again.

Parenteau thrived playing with Tavares from 2010-12, but their reunion was limited to a 4-0 preseason loss to the Washington Capitals on Oct. 9. Parenteau was placed on waivers the following day and claimed by the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 11.

As surprising as the change was, Parenteau said he can't complain about how it's worked out. Instead of playing with Tavares, he's skating on a line with Taylor Hall and is tied with Hall for the Devils lead with five goals in the first 14 games.

With Parenteau's help, the Devils are off to an 8-3-3 start heading into a four-game road trip that begins against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-SW, MSG+, NHL.TV).

"It's never fun or good when you get put on waivers, especially when it was unexpected like that," Parenteau said. "It was kind of a shock at first. But you know what? It's all worked out for the best so far, and the guys in the locker room in Jersey and the coaches here have made it easy on me, and it's been fun."

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After he had 20 goals and 41 points in 77 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season, Parenteau said he talked to a few teams when he became an unrestricted free agent but felt returning to the Islanders would be best for him, especially after talking to Tavares. When they last played together in 2011-12, Parenteau established NHL career highs of 49 assists and 67 points.

"It seemed like a really good fit on paper, but I guess [Islanders general manager Garth Snow] didn't see it that way at camp," Parenteau said. "So here I am with Jersey and it's been fun, so it's all good."

Parenteau quickly has become good friends with Hall, who was acquired in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers on June 29, and has enjoyed getting the chance to play with him and Travis Zajac on the Devils' top line.

"Taylor is a really good player," Parenteau said. "He brings a lot of speed, so I think he's a good fit for me so far. I like feeding him the puck. He creates so much space in the neutral zone. I'm pretty good at setting up guys like that, so it's been good."

Perhaps that's why Parenteau said he holds no bitterness toward the Islanders.

"[Snow and Islanders coach Jack Capuano] are the guys that gave me my first chance in the NHL, so I don't want to be the guy that holds grudges," he said. "I would have loved for it to have worked out, but it didn't and I've turned the page."

If there's been a negative to the change, it's that Parenteau had settled with his family on Long Island and his daughter already had started school. On the positive side, he's close enough to visit while he tries to figure out a better arrangement.

"We're still in the process of trying to accommodate everybody here," he said. "I don't want to switch my daughter from school. ... We're trying to find a place between Jersey and there right now. We're still looking."


Movember madness

November also is Movember, the month when men grow mustaches to raise awareness and funds for men's health issues. Several players from around the League are participating again this season, including Washington Capitals left wing Daniel Winnik.

"It's really picked up steam in the NHL," Winnik said. "I don't know what other sports do it. It started in Australia [in 2003], and I guess because it's so prevalent in Canada [it's popular in the NHL]. I think it's good to do."

Prior to the Capitals game against the Florida Panthers on Nov. 5, Winnik shaved down to a horseshoe style mustache. Since then, it's grown in with impressive thickness.

"I thought I'd try that this year," Winnik said of the horseshoe. "Usually, I just go straight mustache."

Winnik's mustache has been the envy of the Capitals locker room, but none of his teammates have joined him in the movement. 

"That's one of the best ones I've seen," defenseman Nate Schmidt said. "If I could grow one, I would try. [Goaltender Braden Holtby] could probably do it, but he always has the beard. Justin Williams could probably do it, Matt Niskanen could probably do it, but [the mustache] wouldn't be as fruitful and full."


Stat pack

Michael Grabner has scored 10 goals in his first 16 games with the New York Rangers, surpassing the nine he had in 80 games with the Maple Leafs last season. Grabner, who scored 45 goals in the four previous seasons, is on pace to score 51 goals. That would shatter his NHL career high of 34 in 2010-11 with the Islanders. All 10 of Grabner's goals have come at even strength. … Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray is 11-0-0 with a 1.75 goals-against average, a .940 save percentage and two shutouts in his past 12 regular-season games. … Including an 8-4 win against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday and a 10-0 victory against the Montreal Canadiens on Nov. 4, the Columbus Blue Jackets have scored 21 goals in their past three home games and have won five in a row at Nationwide Arena. Their power play is 10-for-19 (52.6 percent) at home. … Andy Greene's overtime penalty-shot goal against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday was the first in Devils history. Patrik Elias had been the only player in Devils history to attempt a penalty shot in overtime: Dec. 1, 2000, against John Vanbiesbrouck of the Islanders and Dec. 10, 2003, against Snow when he played for the Islanders.


Games to watch

Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals (Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV) -- The Wednesday Night Rivalry game will be the second between the Penguins and Capitals this season. The Penguins defeated the Capitals 3-2 in a shootout to open the season Oct. 13.

New York Rangers at Columbus Blue Jackets (Nov. 18, 7 p.m. ET; FS-O, MSG, NHL.TV) -- After going 34-40-8 last season, the Blue Jackets are off to a decent start at 7-4-2, but they will face a tough test against the Rangers, who are 12-4-0. The Blue Jackets went 0-4-0 against the Rangers last season, including losses in their first two games to begin an 0-8-0 start. 

New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins (Nov. 21, 7 p.m. ET; ROOT, MSG, NHL.TV) -- A rematch of the Eastern Conference First Round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which was won by the Penguins in five games. Also, the first game of a home-and-home series that concludes at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 23 (7 p.m. ET; MSG, ROOT, NHL.TV).

New Jersey Devils at San Jose Sharks (Nov. 21, 10:30 p.m. ET; CSN-CA, MSG+, NHL.TV) -- The Devils wrap up a four-game road trip by facing their former coach, Peter DeBoer, and the Sharks.

St. Louis Blues at Washington Capitals (Nov. 23, 7 p.m. ET; CSN-DC, FS-MW, NHL.TV) -- Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko and Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin were linemates for Team Russia at the World Cup of Hockey 2016. They'll go head-to-head in this matchup of two of the top goal-scorers in the League.

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