John Tavares won't turn 23 until September, but he has been around long enough to dress for 252 NHL games. And to realize that the way an NHL season begins isn't necessarily how it will end. He is, then, understandably cautious about reading too much into the 4-3-1 start the New York Islanders had before facing they faced the Penguins Tuesday night at Nassau Coliseum. "There's still a lot of games to be played, a lot to be judged," he said. "We've had some decent starts over the first four or five games of past seasons, then we have kind of hit a lull." Enough of a lull, he could have added, that New York has qualified for the playoffs just once in the past seven seasons. Still, Tavares believes his team has the potential to be a factor in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. "This year, we're more understanding, more focused, on what we have to do to play more consistent, to be more competitive on a daily basis," he said. "To compete for the playoffs, you have to be that way, especially with how tough our division is. "More and more, we're learning about what it takes to win, and what we have to do." Read more: