NEWARK, NJ – FEBRUARY 19: John Tavares #91 of the New York Islanders in action against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 19, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. The Islanders defeated the Devils 1-0. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

John Tavares is the king of New York City professional sports. In a market with three hockey, two baseball, two basketball, two football and two Major League Soccer teams, no player has had more of a singular and significant impact over the last year than the Islanders’ breathtakingly talented forward.

The Islanders have reached the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 1993 largely because of Tavares’ heroics. He scored both goals — including the game-winner in the second overtime — in New York’s 2-1 clincher in Game 6 over Florida, sending the Barclays Center and Islander fans into a state of overjoyed delirium.

Tavares is tied for second among all playoff skaters in goals with six and points with 11, but the Isles’ defense couldn’t hold up in Tuesday’s Game 3. The defending Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Lightning tied the score at 4-4 with 38.4 seconds left in regulation and took a 2-1 series lead on Brian Boyle’s overtime goal.

“Obviously we did a lot of good things with the puck offensively, we just have to keep it out of our net a little more,” Tavares said after the game.

Now facing a series deficit for the first time in the postseason, New York will lean on Tavares now, as always.

“That’s never changed,” said forward Josh Bailey, who scored twice in Game 3. “He’s always been a guy we’ve counted on. He’s our go-to guy in all situations.”

Last season, Tavares was one of the three finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy, given to the NHL’s most valuable player. He won’t be on that short list this season, but Tavares has led his team to a level of success and overall excitement this franchise hasn’t seen in decades.

Forward Shane Prince, 23, came over in a midseason trade from Ottawa and scored two huge goals in the Game 1 win over the Lightning.

“Since the day I got here, I realize what a great captain he is and how much of a pro he is,” Prince said. “He’s a good team guy and he wants to win. A lot of the guys follow in his footsteps and follow his lead, and you need a captain like that to go far.”

Make no mistake: The Islanders wouldn’t be having its best season in over 20 years without Tavares coming into his own as a competitor and leader. Here’s why the other New York City sports stars don’t stack up.

Rangers All-Star Henrik Lundqvist is still an incredible goaltender and a most dapper Salvatore Ferragamo model, but at 34 years old, his best hockey is behind him. The Blueshirts have fallen short of building a viable championship contender around him and their proverbial championship window may have already closed.

The defending National League champion Mets have a few contenders in Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto. Harvey was fantastic in last year’s postseason — his drama in Game 5 of the World Series notwithstanding — but his ERA currently hovers in the high fours this season. Syndergaard and Conforto are young studs who are only going to get better as time progresses, but they can’t currently replicate Tavares’ level of sustained success.

Just like seeing the Islanders this deep into the playoffs, it’s also strange to see the Yankees without any bona fide superstar. The struggling, aging team from the Bronx has only Alex Rodriguez as a truly marquee player, and all he is right now is a 40-year-old designated hitter batting .194.

New Yorkers still gravitate towards basketball, which you saw over the winter when Kristaps Porzingis was the toast of the city, despite the Knicks really peaking after reaching 22-22 in mid-January. The 7-foot-3, 20-year-old wunderkind captivated a city starving for a hoops winner, but both player and team couldn’t endure the rigors of an 82-game season from that point forward. Carmelo Anthony is still a mega-watt NBA superstar, but it doesn’t seem like he’s going to fulfill his potential as a title contender’s best player, a feat Tavares is seemingly accomplishing this season at age 25, especially if the Isles reach the conference finals.

Met Gala

A photo posted by Odell Beckham Jr (@iam_objxiii) on

Similar to Porzingis, Odell Beckham Jr.’s dazzling athletic acrobatics makes him an immensely likeable and marketable star, helping him become a pop culture figure; shouted out in a Kanye West song and appearing at Monday’s globally ubiquitous Met Gala. But Beckham’s Giants haven’t made the playoffs since their 2011 Super Bowl run, which eliminates Eli Manning from these discussions as well. Ditto for Darrelle Revis.

The Islanders may not come back from being down a game to the Lightning, but the future sure looks bright for Brooklyn’s newest franchise. Besides for the Mets, the future for all other New York area teams currently looks grim and bleak.

With Tavares as the focal point and cornerstone of the franchise, even competent management will ensure that in a season from now, the Islanders will reach their third straight postseason for the first time since the 2001 through 2003 seasons. With the best athlete in New York City on their side, the Isles will be perennially relevant for the first time since their 1980s heyday.

About Shlomo Sprung

Shlomo Sprung is a writer and columnist for Awful Announcing. He's also a senior contributor at Forbes and writes at FanSided, SI Knicks, YES Network and other publications.. A 2011 graduate of Columbia University’s Journalism School, he has previously worked for the New York Knicks, Business Insider, Sporting News and Major League Baseball. You should follow him on Twitter.