Islanders center Jean-Gabriel Pageau, left, celebrates his goal against the...

Islanders center Jean-Gabriel Pageau, left, celebrates his goal against the Colorado Avalanche with right wing Cal Clutterbuck, left wing Zach Parise and defenseman Andy Greene, back right, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Denver.  Credit: AP/David Zalubowski

And so the Islanders returned home from a five-game road trip having gained no ground in their long shot effort to get back into the playoff race.

It’s a small consolation, but they do come back to UBS Arena for a six-game homestand believing they’ve refound some elements that have been missing for most of this disappointing season.

The Islanders face the Canucks on Thursday night after concluding their 2-2-1 road trip with a 5-3 loss to the NHL-best Avalanche on Tuesday night. They hung tight with the Avalanche all game, twice rallying from one-goal deficits and thinking they had taken a third-period lead on an apparent goal by defenseman Sebastian Aho that was overturned via video review.

"I think, for the most part, we did a lot of good things," Jean-Gabriel Pageau said. "We played with more energy, created more. We played hard. Now, it’s a matter of regrouping here, building on that, going home and finding a way to get on a streak at home."

The Islanders did not practice on Wednesday so there was no update on Mathew Barzal (lower body) and Zdeno Chara (upper body), who have missed the last two games. Coach Barry Trotz does not expect either to play against the Canucks.

To review the trip: The Islanders were dominant for the first 30 minutes of a 5-2 win over the expansion Kraken, took a season-high 47 shots in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Sharks, falling to 1-5 in shootouts, were overmatched in a 5-2 loss to the Kings, got 34 saves from Ilya Sorokin as he posted his fifth shutout in a 4-0 win over the Ducks, then nearly had a huge victory in Colorado.

At times, the Islanders ground down the speedier, more talented Avalanche with a four-line attack, forecheck and physical defense play that was a reminder of how they made it to back-to-back NHL semifinals.

"There’s lots of evidence of that," Trotz said. "I thought, really in the second period, it was line after line doing some really good things for us. I thought Pageau’s line [with Zach Parise and Kyle Palmieri] did really good and followed that by [Brock] Nelson and [Casey] Cizikas’ line. They all had some contribution in terms of grinding them down."

The issue is, even if the Islanders suddenly become a consistent team — and they haven’t won consecutive games since three straight victories from Jan. 17-21 — it’s likely too late in the season to mount a playoff push.

The Islanders are 17 points behind the Capitals for the final playoff spot, though they still have played five fewer games.

"I thought we deserved better in San Jose and again [Tuesday]," Parise said. "Unfortunately, where we are, we need those points. We can look at a lot of good things we did, the way we played, the aggressiveness that our defensemen showed in breaking up plays at the blue line and getting involved in the offense. There’s a lot of good from the trip."

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