That 4-2-1 start seems as ancient and empty as Nassau Coliseum.

After last night’s gut-wrenching 3-2 loss to the Sabres, the Islanders find themselves in a familiar position: the Atlantic Division basement.

Their fourth straight loss was the most frustrating of the bunch. Buoyed by center Josh Bailey’s return from a knee injury and defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky’s debut, the Isles virtually lived in the Sabres’ zone and outshot their opponents 43-15.

“We deserved better tonight, there’s no question,” coach Jack Capuano said. “Right now, it doesn’t feel like anything is going our way.”

Though Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller was very good in making 41 saves, the Isles (4-6-1) failed on three power-play opportunities, missed the net on numerous uncontested chances and had John Tavares hit the pipes twice in the final period.

Tavares clanged the crossbar from the right circle on a whistler of a shot that beat Miller early in the period. Later, on a penalty shot, his backhand dinged off the right post. Also in that agonizing final period, Matt Moulson had an open net on his own rebound, but Cody Hodgson saved the goal with a reaching deflection.

“We hit three posts and we had a bunch of other opportunities,” said Tavares, who notched his sixth goal of the season in the first period. “Sometimes it’s bad luck, but I think with as many opportunities as we had, we got to put them in when we can.”