No white flags have been waved even if the obvious has become more obvious for the Islanders.

They will enter Thursday’s rescheduled St. Patrick’s Day matchup against the playoff-bound Rangers at Madison Square Garden 19 points behind the Capitals for the Eastern Conference’s final wild-card spot. Barring a statistical miracle, the Islanders will miss the playoffs for the first time in four seasons under president and general manager Lou Lamoriello and coach Barry Trotz.

But that doesn’t mean work can’t begin on returning there next season.

The personnel may change, both by Monday’s NHL trade deadline and also in the offseason, but many of the team’s core are signed long-term so there will be some carryover and continuity for the 2022-23 season.

The fact that the Islanders are playing their most consistent hockey of the season — Tuesday night’s 4-3, eight-round shootout loss in Washington still left them on a 4-1-1 run — can make an impact going forward.

"You want to go into every year feeling good about yourself," Trotz said. "You want to know where you stand. You want to know that the guy next to you is going to be with you when the bullets fly. From now until the end of the season, we’ve got to have each other’s back. We’ve got to be in the foxhole with each other and let just let it bleed out there and see what happens."

The Islanders, who did not practice on Wednesday, were originally scheduled to face the Rangers on Nov. 28. But that was the first game the NHL rescheduled for the team in the midst of a widespread COVID-19 outbreak.

An 0-8-3 stretch from Nov. 7-Dec. 5 effectively wrecked a season that started with Stanley Cup-or-bust expectations. That skid included a 4-1 loss to the Rangers at UBS Arena on Nov. 24 while dressing AHL call-ups Andy Andreoff, Richard Panik, Otto Koivula and defensemen Robin Salo, Grant Hutton, Paul LaDue and Thomas Hickey with seven regulars in COVID-19 protocol.

But now the Islanders, finally fully healthy and finally playing games on a consistent basis, have started to resemble the team that reached the NHL semifinals in back-to-back years before losing to the two-time Cup champion Lightning.

The goaltending tandem of Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov — Sorokin is expected to start on Thursday as Trotz has alternated the two the past eight games — has put the Islanders in position to steal points when they’re not at their best. That may change by Monday’s deadline as Varlamov could be moved with several playoff contenders struggling in net.

And the Islanders are again physically grinding down some opponents.

"That was our problem early on, we couldn’t put a full 60 [minute effort] consistently playing that Islanders’ identity," defenseman Noah Dobson. "We’ve been doing a better job as of late.

"We all have lots of pride and we’re all competitive. It feels right. It feels better when we’re playing our game for a full 60."

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