Last season, the Islanders learned the hard way how a slow start can hamper a team's playoff chances. The Islanders won six of their first 20 games last season and the early hole was part of the reason they missed the playoffs by one point.
From the onset of training camp this season, the Islanders preached the importance of a strong start and followed through, going 7-4-1 in October - their first seven-win October since 2001. For perspective, the Islanders needed 21 games to reach their seventh win last year.
"We put a lot of emphasis on our start this season," Josh Bailey said. "I think we still feel we let a couple slip way and we can just be better. Still a long way to go, but a good way to start October."
The Islanders started the season with a 5-0 stumble in Columbus, but found their stride as the month wore on. Even with a 2-3-1 start to the season, the Islanders didn't go two consecutive games without a point and finished October on a 5-1-0 run. They've played well at home, going 4-0-1 at Barclays Center.
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"We knew we needed to get off to a better start this year," Andrew Ladd said. "I like the no panic [after losses]. Obviously we had a few tough games early on in the year, but I think we were confident in our group and what we can do in here and how we can play. We just tried to stick to that really."
The offense has thrived over the past five games, recording at least four goals in each contest. They've been especially potent in the third period, recording three goals in the final frame of their past three wins - a far cry from the team that allowed late winning goals five times in first 20 games last season.
"We've fought hard in some games and whether it was not a great start, or we had some things going against us, we've managed to win games," Head Coach Doug Weight said. "Hopefully we've learned a little bit along the way here."
JOSH BAILEY RIDING SEVEN-GAME POINT STREAK:
Josh Bailey is on a roll.
The Islanders forward is riding a seven-game point streak - the longest active streak in the NHL - collecting 12 points (2G, 10A) in the process. Seven games has matched a career-high and has vaulted Bailey into second on the Islanders scoring lead with 14 points (3G, 11A) in 12 games.
He's largely done it with assists, riding a six-game assist streak, also the longest playmaking streak in the NHL. Bailey dished out three assists in the Islanders' 6-3 win over Vegas on Monday, his second three-assist night in three games. His 11 assists in October were the most for any Islander since Robert Reichel had 12 in October in the 1997-98 season.
"I feel good. I feel confident, but it's just one game at a time," Bailey said. "I honestly don't even think about it too much. I have a simple mindset, go out and try and play well. Prepare and do everything I can to feel good for games."
Video: New York Islanders Locker Room Tour
Bailey had a breakout season in 2016-17, scoring a career-high 56 points (13G, 43A). With 14 points in 12 games to start 2017-18, Bailey hasn't just carried his offensive game into this season, he's outdoing himself.
And while he hit career-highs playing on the top line with Tavares and Anders Lee - who is currently on a six-game point streak - last season, he's finding success whether or not he plays with the Isles top line this season or not.
"Josh is a heck of a player. He doesn't get enough credit," John Tavares said after the win. "Not just his offensive ability, which is really flourishing, but his all-around game. To win games and to be a successful team, you need guys like Josh as secondary scoring and he's really grown into a great leader in the locker room. A lot of young guys really look up to him and it's been a lot of fun for me to play with him."
LINES AT WEDNESDAY'S PRACTICE: