These Islanders have learned many hard lessons in their growing pains the past few years. The one that should stand out for the 2013-14 season one that engenders more promise for this team than any in a decade is that a slow start to the season is a sure way to irrelevance.
The numbers are quite stark: The last two 82-game seasons the Isles were near the bottom of the Eastern Conference by Thanksgiving and unable to get off the mat. A 4-10-3 start in 2010-11 got Scott Gordon fired and the Isles were 5-18-5 just before Christmas.
The next year the Isles were 5-11-4 around Thanksgiving 15-20-6 at the halfway mark and doomed to another lottery pick.
Even last season the Isles were 4-7-3 after an early five-game losing streak and headed for another season of futility before a furious finish got them to the playoffs.
"We're trying to carry over the way we played last year what we individually brought to the table" John Tavares said. "You really could feel how we came together as a te...