Islanders head coach Patrick Roy, center, reacts, during third period of...

Islanders head coach Patrick Roy, center, reacts, during third period of an NHL hockey game against the Calgary Flames, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024. Credit: AP/Bebeto Matthews

ST. LOUIS — Here’s the thing about the Islanders, who have won two straight just once since mid-December: All their hopeful talk about ripping off a winning streak and getting right back in the thick of the playoff chase is empty until they show the requisite confidence to play with a lead.

They get another chance to earn an elusive back-to-back win against the Blues on Thursday night at Enterprise Center following Tuesday night’s 5-4 overtime win in Pittsburgh. The Penguins forced an extra period after trailing 4-2 midway through the third period before defenseman Adam Pelech’s wrister from the slot — his first goal of the season — decided it 57 seconds into the extra period.

The Islanders won two straight on Feb. 5-8 but, before that, had not done so since a four-game winning streak from Dec. 7-13.

Yet Tuesday’s victory only highlighted a main reason they have struggled to find consistency as they could not protect a two-goal lead in the third period. They just weren’t as aggressive as they had been earlier in the game and were outshot 16-7 over those 20 minutes.

The Islanders (23-18-14) have held a third-period lead in 30 of their 55 games. They’ve won 20 of those matches, four in overtime.

They lost Sunday’s Stadium Series match to the rival Rangers 6-5 in overtime after leading 4-2 with under six minutes left in regulation, allowing two power-play goals. It was a crushing collapse on a national stage.

“We really have no time to sit around and have a bad game,” said Mathew Barzal, who brings an eight-game point streak into Thursday’s match with five goals and six assists in that span. “Getting [Tuesday] was huge, especially when a guy like Pelly scores in overtime. That can be seriously uplifting. Hopefully we can ride that out into St. Louis.”

The Islanders’ teams of a few seasons back — particularly in advancing to back-to-back NHL final fours in 2020 and 2021 — typically grew stronger as the game went on with all the confidence they would pull out a victory.

Right now, the Islanders are talking about how Tuesday’s win could give them more confidence.

Huge difference.

“I think winning is going to bring some confidence to our guys and they’re going to have an understand of, ‘We’ve got this,’” said Patrick Roy, now 4-3-3 as Islanders coach. “Overall, I was pleased with the compete level. Could we be better in some situations defensively? Yes. But it’s a big win for our team, period.”

Even bigger? Two wins.

Notes & quotes:  Center Kyle MacLean, who had one goal in six games in his first NHL stint, was recalled from the Islanders’ AHL affiliate, almost certainly signifying Casey Cizikas will be unavailable on Thursday. The fourth-line center exited Tuesday’s win 21 seconds into the third period after being hit on the hand by the puck. Hudson Fasching (lower body), who will miss his eighth game, was placed on long-term injured reserve retroactive to Jan. 25 to open a roster spot.  

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