There is enough perspective in the Islanders locker room that they were not willing to go ahead and call this one a statement game. Not this early in the season.

But Saturday night at the Coliseum, when they dismantled the mighty Bruins, 3-1, it certainly was a testament to a team that is beginning to look like the one from last year, the one that made a second-half surge to the playoffs and opened skeptical eyes in a first-round loss the top-seeded Penguins.
Don’t look now, but after Friday’s 5-4 shootout win over the Senators in Ottawa, the Islanders (6-5-3) spent this weekend beating two of the most touted teams in the East. It kept them in second place in the Metropolitan Division, still a hearty seven points behind the Penguins.

“We weren’t just happy with what we accomplished [Friday],” said captain John Tavares, who scored his sixth goal of the season to break the scoreless tie early in the second period. “We got better as the game went on. We didn’t give them much, made them earn everything they got. And they’re a good hockey team.”

The Bruins (8-5-0) are known for their skill and physicality, and yet the Islanders matched the intensity of the reigning Eastern Conference champion at both ends. They got solid play from the much-maligned defense, as well as a breakout night from their new top line, with Thomas Vanek getting his first goal in three games as an Islander since coming over in a trade with the Sabres on Sunday.

“It feels great,” said Vanek, who batted in a great 2-on-1 pass from Kyle Okposo to give the Islanders a 3-1 lead late in the second. “I’m playing with two great players, and it’s a great opportunity for me. It’s just take every day as a new day and keep learning.”

The Islanders defense came into the game ranked 27th in the league in goals-against, and yet they held the Bruins to 15 shots through the first two periods. They defended hard and kept attacking, and were not about to accept the idea that they are the weakness of this team.

“You guys [the media] are going to write that our D corps is this and our D corps is that, and to be quite honest with you, I think it’s [garbage],” said Travis Hamonic, who had two assists and was an imposing force against Boston’s power line of Jarome Iginla, David Krejci and Milan Lucic. “We’re a young group back there and we’re starting to play better.We demand a lot of each other.”

Whenever the Islanders did surrender scoring chances — especially late in the game as the Bruins racked up 12 shots in the final period — it was backup goalie Kevin Poulin who stood tall to get his first win of the season.