Islanders defenseman Alexander Romanov waits for a face off against...

 Islanders defenseman Alexander Romanov waits for a face off against the Golden Knights in the third period of an NHL game Jan. 28 at UBS Arena. Credit: AP/Adam Hunger

This was not run-of-the-mill self-questioning.

This was an unflinchingly honest self-assessment.

During a post-practice discussion Friday about his first game in Montreal against the Canadiens since the draft day trade that brought him to the Islanders, defenseman Alexander Romanov was asked to analyze his game.

The questions essentially were throwing raw meat to a hungry dog, and Romanov — who finished minus-1 with two giveaways in 14:26 of the Islanders’ 6-5 loss to the Canucks on Thursday night at UBS Arena — pounced.

“I need to improve my game every day,” he said. “D-zone, breakouts, the blue line. Everywhere.”

The defenseman’s brutal self-examination was similar to his team’s assessment of its performance against old friend Anthony Beauvillier and the Canucks.

“Last night didn’t sit well with anyone in here,” Anders Lee said. “Definitely frustrating. [But] it’s over and now we have an opportunity to go into Montreal and play a great hockey game and start something new here.”

Entering Saturday’s matinee at Bell Centre, the Islanders (27-23-5) have earned 59 points in 55 games, which is 1.07 points per game. Over the course of an 82-game season, it puts them on a pace to finish with 88 points.

The NHL introduced the current playoff format — in which the top three finishers in each division plus two wild-card teams in each conference reach the postseason — in the 2013-14 season. With the exception of the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, in which the NHL reconfigured its playoff format, the teams that earned the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card berths have averaged 99.5 and 96.7 points.

Entering Friday’s play, Washington (27-20-6) held the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card berth with 60 points and Pittsburgh (25-16-9) had the second and final berth with 59 points. Even though they had the same number of points, the Penguins had a .590 points percentage compared to the Islanders’ .536.

Perhaps most important of all, Washington had two games in hand on the Islanders and Pittsburgh had five.

So now would be a good time for the Islanders to go on an extended winning streak. And yes, they are aware of the standings. But no, they are not obsessing about what the teams around them are doing on a nightly basis.

“You know what’s going on,” Lane Lambert said with a chuckle. “You should know what’s going on. But all we can do again is take care of ourselves. That’s really the only focus. But you’re definitely aware of where you’re at.”

During the brisk half-hour practice at Northwell Health Ice Center, the lines mostly remained intact from Thursday night, with the exception of third-line center Jean-Gabriel Pageau being out for an undisclosed reason. He was replaced on the line by Ross Johnston.

Lambert did reconfigure his defense pairs. The top pair of Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock remained together, but the second pairing consisted of Sebastian Aho and Noah Dobson, and Romanov and Scott Mayfield formed the third pair. Samuel Bolduc and Parker Wotherspoon were the extras.

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