The Detroit Red Wings' next win would help them match NHL history, but they need a victory for a more present concern -- the race for the Western Conference lead.
Facing the league's worst team could help the Red Wings with both.
After ending a three-game trip with a thrilling rally, Detroit will try to carry that momentum into the start of four-game homestand Friday night against the New York Islanders -- the NHL's worst road team.
The Red Wings are looking to join Boston (1970-74) and Montreal (1975-79) as the only teams with 50 wins in four straight seasons. Mike Babcock would become the first coach with four consecutive 50-win campaigns since former Detroit leader Scotty Bowman did it with the Canadiens in 1979.
After falling in Calgary on Monday night, Detroit (49-14-6) scored twice in a 32-second span in the third for a 3-2 win the next evening in Edmonton. The Oilers outshot Detroit 13-9 in the first 20 minutes, but the Red Wings had a 35-13 advantage over the final two periods.
"When you play back-to-back, your legs aren't the same as they normally are," Babcock said. "It takes you a while to get them back. ... They outshot us in the first, I think they had 13 shots on net and I don't know how much they finished with but not a lot, so we took over from that point."
Detroit remained tied with San Jose for the top seed in the West and in the race for the Presidents' Trophy with the Sharks' 3-2 loss at Nashville on Thursday.
Both the Red Wings and Sharks head into Friday's play with eight games remaining, but while San Jose has an even split between home and road contests, Detroit will play six at Joe Louis Arena -- where it is 26-5-4 overall and 10-1-2 since February.
After a pair of solid efforts from Ty Conklin, the Red Wings are expected to look to Chris Osgood on Friday. Osgood had seemed to find consistency over the last two weeks but was pulled for Conklin during Monday's 5-3 defeat in Calgary after giving up three goals in the first 25:38.
Osgood, who played with the Islanders from 2001-03, is 6-1-0 with a 1.72 goals-against average in seven lifetime appearances against New York.
Johan Franzen's four goals and eight assists during a six-game point streak have helped the Red Wings win five times in that span. With Henrik Zetterberg's next goal, Detroit would have four players with 30 for the first time since 2001-02.
The Red Wings will face an Islanders defense that's given up 16 goals during a three-game slide. While Detroit could make history, New York (24-41-8) is slipping toward its worst finish since its 52 points in 2000-01 and is 8-26-3 away from home this season.
The Islanders showed the strain of a long season in Wednesday night's 6-2 loss to visiting Minnesota, committing 13 of 23 penalties. After going 160 games without a goal, defenseman Bruno Gervais scored for the third time in 11 games.
The Islanders are making their first trip to Joe Louis since a 2-1 win on Dec. 4, 2005, which broke a five-game skid in Detroit. The teams have not met since Jan. 30, 2007, and the Red Wings have won eight of the last 10 meetings with one tie.