Pittsburgh Penguins' Chris Kunitz deflects the puck past New York...

Pittsburgh Penguins' Chris Kunitz deflects the puck past New York Islanders goalie Jean-Francois Berube for a goal during the first period of an NHL game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Credit: AP / Gene J. Puskar

PITTSBURGH — The standings said it was a pivotal game, but Jack Capuano saw a bigger picture, with his team on the road for the second night of a back-to-back, and with many more pivotal games to come over the next month.

So it was Tuesday night that the Islanders coach gave young goaltender J-F Berube a start against the Penguins at Consol Energy Center, and made three other lineup changes while he was at it, in part to get fresh legs on the ice.

Consider it a qualified success. The Islanders lost, 2-1, in an overtime shootout, but all things considered they felt relatively good about themselves when it was over.

True, they missed an opportunity to separate themselves from the Penguins, but the one point they earned allowed them to tie the Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division with 85 — three ahead of Pittsburgh.

And as a bonus they got a long look at Berube and liked what they saw.

“Unreal,” defenseman Travis Hamonic said. “He played really, really well. He hadn’t played in a while. I thought he made some great saves. Really, really good. Can’t say enough good things.”

It was Berube’s first start since he became the No. 2 goaltender behind Thomas Greiss after Jaroslav Halak was lost for the rest of the regular season with a groin injury.

Berube, 24, saw mop-up duty Feb. 6 and had started only twice previously — in a 4-1 loss to the Blackhawks on Oct. 10 and a 5-3 victory over the Wild on Feb. 2.

All he allowed against the Penguins were a first-period tip-in by Chris Kunitz and a shootout goal by Kris Letang. He made 33 saves — seven of them during a frantic overtime period thoroughly dominated by the Penguins.

“A little rusty at the beginning, a couple of pucks got away from me, a couple of rebounds that I usually control, but as it went on I kind of settled in my game and felt more comfortable,” Berube said. “I’ve been working hard in practice and making sure I’m sharp and ready to go if they needed me.”

The Penguins led 1-0 until 14:35 of the third period, when Kyle Okposo scored on a power play when he brought the puck back from past the goal line, then flipped it over the Penguins’ Marc-Andre Fleury.

It was the second time in two nights the Islanders had scored their first goal late in the third period. On Monday, they scored three times to erase a 2-0 deficit and beat the Panthers.

This time they only got one point, though, thanks to Fleury shutting them out in the shootout while Letang lifted one over Berube in the second round.

“He made a good move,” Berube said. “I thought he was going to shoot. I bit a little bit on his deke and he went top shelf. It’s hard when they make a move and put it on top. It’s hard to stop it.”

It could have been worse. The point was nice, as was giving Greiss the night off and getting Berube some work.

“Greiss is not going to play all the games, so back-to-back is the perfect opportunity to put J-F in,” Capuano said before the game.

After it was over, he said, “I thought he was great. I thought for three periods we were really good, we helped him out. Obviously in overtime we had a couple of turnovers and a bad change and they got seven shots.”

Said Hamonic, “I think we played a lot better tonight as a team (than Monday). It seems like when we play these guys it’s becoming a really good rivalry. You want to get the two points, but the skills competition at the end can go either way.”

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