Pierre Engvall of the Islanders skates past Owen Power of the Sabres...

Pierre Engvall of the Islanders skates past Owen Power of the Sabres late in the first period at UBS Arena on Saturday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Islanders’ coach and captain were in no mood for sugarcoating.

“I just thought overall our execution was poor — passing, not shooting when we had opportunities to do so,” Lane Lambert said.

“It just wasn’t good enough,” Anders Lee said.

There was no arguing either point after the Islanders lost, 2-0, to the Sabres on Saturday evening at UBS Arena.

The defeat left them with only one point to show for back-to-back games against the Blue Jackets and Sabres, two non-playoff teams (although Buffalo is closing fast).

The Rangers did the Islanders a favor on Saturday by beating the Panthers, who remain four points behind the Islanders (37-28-9) in the wild-card standings.

But it also was a missed opportunity for the Islanders to give themselves some cushion in the standings.

Former Islander and current Sabres captain Kyle Okposo scored the game-winner at 13:31 of the third period.

The puck caromed off Lee and found its way to Okposo, who swept it off the left post and past Semyon Varlamov, who had a fine game in goal for the Islanders with 34 saves.

“I’m always a fan of Kyle, who he is as a person and what he brings to the rink every day as a professional,” Lee said of his former teammate.

“I don’t want to see him score like tonight, but any time he has success, I’m happy for him.”

Jeff Skinner scored into an empty net with 31.8 seconds left to make it 2-0.

The Islanders played poorly in the first period, a reminder of a comment from Kyle Palmieri after Friday’s 6-5 overtime loss to hapless Columbus.

“We didn’t really come ready to play,” Palmieri said then.

Lambert was asked before Saturday’s game whether that was a surprising and disappointing thing to hear from a team leader at this stage of the season.

“Yeah, sure it is,” he said. “No question.”

The Islanders played much better in the second period against the Sabres, and both teams had their moments in the third before Okposo broke through.

Then Palmieri was asked whether he thought the Islanders came ready to play this time. He took the opportunity to put a new spin on his Friday comment.

“Yeah,” he said. “Even last night, I didn’t think it was a terrible game by us . . . We found a way to scrap out a point when we didn’t have our ‘A’ game That’s the sign of a good team.”

Sure, but they failed to follow up against Buffalo (35-31-6).

Josh Bailey returned to the lineup after four consecutive healthy scratches, replacing Simon Holmstrom on a line with Bo Horvat and Lee.

Lambert said he was looking for a “fresh body” after two games within less than 24 hours. Bailey had no shots in 11:40 of ice time.

About four minutes in, Samuel Bolduc made a bad pass in front of his own net, but Varlamov bailed him out with a nifty save.

Bolduc went on to see only 11:46 of ice time. “There were some errors, but he’s a young guy who will continue to get better,” Lambert said.

A few minutes later, Varlamov made another big save on Dylan Cozens to thwart a 2-on-1 chance for Buffalo.

“He was great,” Lee said of the backup goalie. “He deserved a goal or two from us. Phenomenal night for him.”

Noah Dobson hit the right post with a long shot six minutes into the second. But later in the period there were some boos for an ineffective power play, and the game entered the final period still scoreless.

Eric Comrie made 26 saves for the shutout. In his previous start, against the Stars on March 9, Comrie allowed 10 goals in a 10-4 loss.

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