The New York Islanders fell 3-1 to the Nashville Predators on Monday night, a costly result during the team's late playoff push.
Josh Bailey scored the lone Islanders goal, but one was not enough as New York dropped their second straight contest in regulation to remain at 82 points, two back of the Boston Bruins for the final playoff spot.
"Tough loss obviously," Bailey said. "At this point you're just looking to get wins no matter how ugly they are."
Tampa Bay (83 points) also leapfrogged the Islanders with a 5-4 OT win over Chicago, putting another obstacle between the Isles and the playoffs.
"Obviously we're going to have to win some games and probably get some help at this point," Bailey added. "So we'll just worry about what we can control."
The Predators jumped out to a fast start on Monday. The Islanders held off Ryan Ellis' would-be icebreaker with their second successful challenge in as many games, but Kevin Fiala - whose offside cost Nashville their first goal - got it back for the Predators, snapping a wrist shot past Thomas Greiss (28 saves) at 10:17.
Video: NSH@NYI: Bailey redirects Leddy's wrister past Saros
The lesson wasn't learned by the start of the second, as the Predators outshot the Isles 5-0 out of the gate before Viktor Arvidsson tapped in a Filip Forsberg feed to make it 2-0 at 3:15.
Interim Coach Doug Weight wasn't pleased with his team's start and wondered if playing must-win hockey since mid-January was taking its toll.
"I've been through it where you have to be at the top of your level for the last four to six weeks and every game is a playoff game and it's tough. We have to find a way to dig deeper and try to put games together. We are too late to the party on a consistent basis. It's been a problem."
Bailey put the Islanders on the board late in the second period, deflecting Nick Leddy's point shot past Juuse Saros (24 saves) at 17:20. Bailey's 13th of the season wasn't the breakthrough the Islanders were hoping for. Saros stopped all 10 Islanders' shots in the third period and withstood an empty-net push late in the game.
Ryan Johansen iced the game with an empty-netter with 21 seconds to play in the third.
The Islanders head to Philadelphia to play the Flyers on Thursday night. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.