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Uniondale, NY --
With the Islanders out of the playoffs and after two ugly loses this weekend, there was no one more disappointed about how things have turned out than all-star John Tavares.

The 21 year old has yet to know what the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are like during his three-year career with the Islanders. His team has finished in the bottom five the past two years and is about to again this year.

“Anytime you don’t reach your goal and gain that opportunity to compete for the cup it leaves a sour taste in your mouth,” Tavares said somberly after the loss to Ottawa. “It makes it real difficult watching it and we didn’t reach it this year, but there’s three games now left. We have to stay together, play hard and play with a lot of pride and do the right things. And try to get better and improve for next year.”

This season may be especially hard for Tavares since he has been having a career year. To date, he has a career high 31 goals along with a team leading 78 points. Not to mention, it was a mere four weeks ago that the Islanders were still very much in the playoff hunt, but saw there postseason dreams fall apart after a four game losing streak.

“You go through a lot of ups and downs through the year,” Tavares added. “You want to finish strong no matter what the circumstances are and who you’re playing against. Whether you’re trying to get better as a player and grow and learn the game… We just want to stick together and play better hockey than we have the last few games.”

Tavares and the Isles finish out their season with games at New Jersey; home against Winnipeg; and out in Columbus.