After two solid games, Isles can only wait

John Travares of the Islanders prepares for a

John Travares of the Islanders prepares for a face-off against the Devils in the third period. (March 4, 2012) Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

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Now, after toughed-out, one-goal wins over playoff-bound teams on consecutive afternoons, the Islanders get to wait.

Not the best way to keep their faint playoff hopes alive, but the three-day break between games with the Devils is what the schedulers set up.

"You just have to try not to look at the scores," Kyle Okposo said. "There's nothing we can do about it now. We haven't had a break like this in a while, so we just have to make the best of it."

The Islanders, seven points behind eighth-place Winnipeg after the Jets' 3-1 win over Buffalo Monday night -- the Sabres are one of four teams between the 13th-place Islanders and the last playoff berth -- could have been closer to a playoff spot by doing better than 1-4-1 in the six games before Saturday's 3-2 win over the Bruins and Sunday's 1-0 victory over the Devils.

But that, like Okposo's own up-and-down season, is not worth analyzing just yet.

"I know I haven't played in a lot of meaningful games this time of year so far," he said, "but I know you can't dwell on any of the games. You can't sit there and feel that 'coulda, woulda, shoulda' in the games we didn't win."

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Okposo, 23, has two goals in his last three games after scoring one in his previous 14. He's gotten a bit of a boost from being the "old as dirt" guy on a new kid line with Casey Cizikas, 21, and Nino Niederreiter, 19, the last two games. But this season has been almost as frustrating for Okposo as last season, when he missed the first half of the year after shoulder surgery.

"I definitely talk to them on the bench more than I usually do," Okposo said. "They're both hard-working young guys and I feel like what I'm saying to them -- just about keeping up the pace every shift -- seems to sink in. It's been a good fit so far."

There are only 16 games left in the regular season, so Okposo and the Islanders need to find the consistency that's been lacking all season, and fast.

But first, they wait. And try not to watch.

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