The New York Islanders had a different early season problem last year.
Last October/November the Islanders were starting games slow and falling behind early, a trend that stayed with them throughout the season. No matter how much they talked about, no matter how they tried to explain away, the slow starts kept happening.
The silver lining was that they were resilient and were the highest-scoring third-period team over the first quarter of the season. The team was 10-6-0 through their first 16 games last season, but fans were cautious to trust it because of the amount of comeback wins the team pulled out to get there.
It didn't feel sustainable.
This season, Lane Lambert's team has been among the best first-period teams in the league. Through ten games, the Isles have outscored their opponents 10-3 after 20 minutes. The three goals allowed are the fewest in the league and they've led 2-0 in each of their last five games.
Those fast starts have led to the Isles collecting points in eight of their ten games this season and a 5-2-3 record, good enough for the eighth-best winning percentage in the league thus far. Yet, the Islanders have blown two-goal leads in four of their seven home games and have been routinely outshot and out-chanced by their opponents.
The Carolina Hurricanes had 101 shot attempts on Saturday night as the Islanders sat back and tried unsuccessfully to hold on to a 3-1 third period lead. Per Eric Hornick in The Skinny, the Isles have been outshot 357-310 this season; only the 1990-91 Isles (378) allowed more shots thru ten games
It doesn't feel sustainable.
The Islanders early season success has the same cloud of doubt over it as it did last year but for a very different reason. Last season's trend of slow starts lingered throughout the year, it's Lane Lambert's job to make sure that this season's propensity for bad finishes ends soon.