Bo Horvat #14 of the Islanders skates against the Vancouver Canucks...

Bo Horvat #14 of the Islanders skates against the Vancouver Canucks at UBS Arena on Feb. 9, 2023. Credit: Getty Images

If the Islanders are to make the playoffs this season — and that’s a big if — their power play must be productive.

A lengthy power-play drought certainly influenced president/general manager Lou Lamoriello’s decision to acquire Bo Horvat from the Canucks more than a month before the NHL trade deadline.

Horvat’s arrival has increased the Islanders’ man-advantage production, even if they were unable to net the winner on their overtime four-on-three power play in Saturday afternoon’s 4-3 loss to the Canadiens at Bell Centre.

The Islanders (27-23-6) will try to snap a two-game losing streak against a third straight also-ran opponent when they face the Senators on Tuesday night at UBS Arena.

The Islanders have gone 4-for-9 on the power play in four games with Horvat in the lineup.

“Obviously, it’s part of why I’m here to try and spark it a little bit,” he said. “I don’t know if they need me or not, but they’re snapping it around pretty good. For me, I’m just trying to create openings for them and get open myself.”

Horvat extended his goal streak to three games against the Canadiens with a buzzer-beating power-play tally in the second period. He threw the puck at the crease from the left and had it deflect in off goalie Sam Montembeault.

Before Horvat’s acquisition, the Islanders had gone 0-for-25 on the power play in their previous 10 games and 3-for-64 in a 24-game stretch.

“We’ve done a good job since the [All-Star] break,” coach Lane Lambert said. “We’ve scored some goals and given ourselves an opportunity from that standpoint. I thought our power play in overtime [Saturday], we had a lot of looks. They got some good goaltending. They blocked some shots but we got the looks that we wanted.”

Defenseman Noah Dobson and Brock Nelson both got slap shots on net during the two-minute advantage. Dobson also missed the net with another attempt and had two other tries blocked. Mathew Barzal also had a shot blocked.

“We had some good looks,” Dobson said. “The goalie made good saves and there were some good blocks. You want to score there. We kind of threw everything at them. They did a good job.”

Horvat is playing between the circles in the bumper position on the top power-play unit, which includes Dobson manning the point, Nelson and Barzal on the half-walls and Anders Lee as the net-front presence.

The second unit consists of defenseman Sebastian Aho at the point — except for Thursday night’s 6-5 loss to the Canucks, when he was a healthy scratch and Samuel Bolduc quarterbacked the quintet — Jean-Gabriel Pageau in the middle, Zach Parise at the net and Josh Bailey and Kyle Palmieri on the walls.

Barzal and Dobson had power-play goals against the Canucks and Palmieri scored on the man advantage in last Monday’s 2-1 win in Philadelphia.

“It’s been a positive,” Dobson said. “We were in a slump for a while. We’ve just got to continue to build on it. Bo has been a great addition. He does well on the power play. He sees things. He gives us another option.”

But time is running short for the Islanders’ newfound power-play efficiency to fuel a playoff run.

With 26 games remaining, they trail the Penguins, who will visit UBS Arena on Friday, by one point for the Eastern Conference’s final wild-card spot. The Penguins have played four fewer games.

Likewise, the Sabres, who are four points back, and Red Wings, who trail by six, both have played five fewer games. The Panthers, who have played one fewer game, are two points back.

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