By Sean Hartnett
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John Tavares set the hockey world alight during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 NHL season by lifting the New York Islanders to unexpected heights few thought were remotely possible.
The buzz was back at the Coliseum thanks to Tavares’ electrifying play — coupled with a number of teammates taking large strides forward. Suddenly, the Isles were the new kids on the block wreaking havoc on their neighbors by shoving traditional powerhouses in the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers into the playoff-barren wilderness.
No longer were the Isles an under-.500 doormat that Eastern Conference heavyweights could push around with ease. Now that Tavares has gotten a taste of playoff hockey, he wants more. Tavares developed that insatiable hunger to be the best from the time he was a youngster, skating in the backyard of NHL-bound buddy Sam Gagner, who now plies his trade with the Edmonton Oilers.