Bo Horvat of the Islanders celebrates his first-period goal against the...

Bo Horvat of the Islanders celebrates his first-period goal against the Rangers with teammate Casey Cizikas at UBS Arena on Tuesday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Islanders’ path to the playoffs with four games remaining is simple: Win out and get in.

We said simple, not easy heading into Thursday night’s match against the playing-out-the-string Canadiens at UBS Arena.

The Islanders (36-27-15) have won five straight and remained in third place in the Metropolitan Division with Tuesday night’s 4-2 win over the visiting Rangers. They are first among a pack of five teams – the Flyers still generously listed – vying for the remaining two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference including the second wild-card berth.

They lead the Capitals, who hold the second wild-card spot, by two points. The Penguins and Red Wings are three points back of the Islanders and the falling-apart Flyers are four points behind. The Flyers have three games left, the others also have four.

In addition to the Canadiens, the Islanders have a rematch with the angered Rangers – who didn’t like defenseman Adam Pelech’s collision with Mika Zibanejad or defenseman Noah Dobson’s hit on Vincent Trocheck – on Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. They face the Devils on the road on Monday before ending against the Penguins at UBS Arena on April 17 in what could be a play-in game.

The Islanders are a combined 2-7-2 against those four opponents.

The Capitals snapped an 0-4-2 skid with a 2-1 win in Detroit on Tuesday. They still play at Buffalo on Thursday – the Sabres and Devils have fallen out of playoff contention with 79 points and three games remaining each – at home against the Lightning on Saturday and Bruins on Monday, both playoff bound, and at Philadelphia on Tuesday.

The Penguins have collected points in eight straight games (6-0-2) after Monday’s 3-2 overtime loss in Toronto. They host the Red Wings on Thursday, the Bruins on Saturday and the playoff-bound Predators on Monday before finishing against the Islanders.

The Red Wings, in a 2-4-2 skid after Tuesday’s 2-1 loss in Washington, are in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Toronto on Saturday – the Maple Leafs have qualified for the playoffs – host the Canadiens on Monday and end in Montreal on Tuesday.

The Flyers, in an 0-6-2 slump and outscored 19-7 their last three games after a 9-3 loss in Montreal on Tuesday, play the Rangers at the Garden on Thursday, then host the Devils on Saturday and the Capitals on Tuesday.

The Islanders likely would be safe earning six of the potential eight points still available. Five should get them in but might cut it close.

Penguins-Red Wings on Thursday and Capitals-Flyers on Tuesday are problematic because one team is guaranteed two points. Worse, for the Islanders, would be if those games went to overtime and a loser’s point was doled out.

The non-playoff-bound Canadiens and Devils have given the Islanders particular trouble this season. The Islanders have lost twice in Montreal and are 0-2-1 against the fast-skating Devils, though that advantage may be nullified with Jack Hughes out.

So, yes, it’s a simple path to the playoffs. But no easy task.

Notes & quotes: Ilya Sorokin finished third in an NHL Players’ Association poll of which goalie players would want to win one game. He earned 6.17% of the vote. The Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy was first with 46.92%.

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