With the hope of the postseason still far off and fading fast, the Devils got themselves into the most unenviable situation.

For them that means the shootout, the skills competition that they have proven to be historically bad at and which is now the main culprit undercutting their chances to be playing much further than the end of the regular season.

The 2-1 shootout loss to the last-place Islanders on Saturday night at the Coliseum marked the 10th defeat in a row this season — 14th overall dating to back to last year — for the Devils when reaching this extra frame, their shooters having converted on just one free breakaway in 30 attempts.

“I don’t have an answer for the shootout,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “For whatever reason, we have a block.”

Though they did get one point, the Devils (31-28-15) saw their gap to the final wild-card spot increase to five points, with three teams to leapfrog and eight games remaining. It is a situation that might look entirely different if the “block” of the shootout were not there, yet DeBoer rustled when asked if his team felt defeated after the scoreless overtime.

“I don’t know,” he said, irritated. “That’s a ridiculous question.”

He might have been a happier camper had Cory Schneider been able to stop either of the contestants he faced, as both Frans Nielsen and Brock Nelson got the puck passed him, while Adam Henrique and Patrik Elias were both denied by the Islanders rookie goaltender, Anders Nilsson.

“I thought we played a really bad overtime,” Nielsen said, who got his patented high backhand to go over Schneider’s glove. “We gave them the momentum there, but a good win anyway.”

The Islanders (29-35-10) were playing without a handful of their best players, out to injury, and dressed nine rookie skaters to go along with Nilsson. In what was a tight and rather uneventful regulation, the Isles got out to a 1-0 lead on a second-period Nielsen goal that was deflected in off Elias, then the Devils tied it with Henrique’s team-leading 25th of the season eight minutes later in the second.

“There are not many games that are won on paper in this league,” said Schneider, who had just 19 saves to Nilsson’s 23. “A team that’s missing as many key players as they are, we’ve got to find a way to win that game. It’s just kind of our season in a nutshell right there.”

Of the eight games remaining for the Devils, only the final game of the season against the Bruins is against a team currently in playoff position. Yet, as seen on this night, that doesn’t always mean something at this time of year.