The Islanders left Pittsburgh on Saturday evening feeling as if they'd lost a good opportunity for a win.
All is not lost for the Islanders, though. Unlike in previous seasons, when they were perhaps easily deflated by losses such as Saturday's 2-0 defeat to the Penguins, the Islanders are still tied for eighth in the East -- the Rangers also have 35 points, but one game in hand -- and there is the shortened season's quick turnaround coming, in the form of Monday night's visit to Newark.
The Devils are four points ahead of the Islanders, but New Jersey is lamenting its own missed chances, having lost the lead in the final 30 seconds of regulation on consecutive nights in Florida on Friday and Saturday, losing to the Lightning in a shootout and then to the Panthers in overtime.
So the Islanders can't dwell on their ineffective power play, which failed to produce during a 1:55 stretch of five-on-three and during the remaining 3:05 of a five-minute major over the end of the second and early in the third period in Pittsburgh, when the game was still scoreless.
"I thought we played well [on Saturday]," Jack Capuano said. "We had our chances obviously with the power play. But I thought we did some good things."
They can continue to do some good things as the calendar turns to April. The Isles finished 8-5-1 in March, with three of those losses coming to the Penguins, who were 15-0-0 in March. This is the closest the Islanders have been to the playoffs heading into the homestretch in five seasons, so there is no time to wonder about missed opportunities.
Notes & quotes: Ryan Strome, the Islanders' 2011 first-round pick, was expected to report to Bridgeport Monday, according to a source. Strome's Ontario League team lost its first-round playoff series on Friday and the Islanders are hoping to have the 19-year-old center playing for the Sound Tigers for the remainder of their season . . . General manager Garth Snow and the adviser for Anders Lee, the team's 2009 sixth-round pick, are negotiating to sign Lee to a contract after Notre Dame lost on Saturday in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Lee, 22, almost certainly will join the Islanders immediately upon signing.