Red Wings, Islanders look to make up wild-card ground

The Detroit Red Wings and New York Islanders enter the final weekend before the NHL All-Star break in the same position — chasing the teams ahead of them in the Eastern Conference wild-card race.The task is growing as realistic for the Red Wings as it is becoming more difficult for the Islanders.The Red Wings will look to end their first half with a third straight win while the Islanders will aim to snap a lengthy skid Friday night when the sides face off in Elmont, N.Y.The Red Wings will be completing a back-to-back road set after edging the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in overtime on Thursday night. The Islanders fell for the sixth straight time Wednesday night, never leading during a 2-1 road loss to the Ottawa Senators.Detroit squandered a trio of one-goal leads Thursday before Robby Fabbri scored 2:36 into overtime to give the Red Wings a much-needed extra point during a pivotal stretch leading into the break.The Red Wings are 3-1-1 in their past five games — all decided by one goal. Their lone regulation defeat in that span was a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday in which the Flyers snapped a scoreless tie with two goals less than five minutes apart in the third period.Detroit, which hasn’t made the playoffs since the last of its 25 straight postseason appearances in 2015-16, enters Friday seven points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins in the race for the final wild-card spot in the East.”We’re 3-1-1 in our last five, so a really good segment of seven of 10 points and we keep climbing,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said Thursday night. “The guys wanted to play important games late in the season. Here we are before the All-Star break right in the middle of a bunch of teams and a team we’re chasing in New York (on Friday).”The chase has become an increasingly uphill one for the Islanders, who opened January in a three-way tie for the two wild-card spots in the East and just four points behind the second-place New Jersey Devils in the Metropolitan Division.