Tavares didn't land this one, but putting three others past Miller expanded his team lead.
With John Tavares' hat trick giving him 10 goals, 9 assists, 19 points in his last 16 games, has he staked the lead needed to run away with the team points and goal scoring title? (Note to hockey gods: Please don't consider that innocent question to be a "projection." We know what happens when we do projections.) At minus-18, he could also take the Brendan Witt Crooked Number title too. (Closest competition: Blake Comeau, Matt Martin, Mike Mottau each at minus-12.)
These days advanced stats and opportunity rates help us understand who's contributing a whole lot better than mere points and plus/minus. But it's still fun to keep an eye on boxscore totals. Forty-four games in, Tavares' constant rival for the goal title Matt Moulson is now closer to third than he is to first: With 14 goals, Moulson is just one ahead of Blake Comeau, and three ahead of Michael Grabner and P.A. Parenteau. If you're down with GVT, Tavares leads current Islanders in contribution to wins by a hair over Comeau -- though the departed Dwayne Roloson still leads them all. (Goalies tend to do that though, and again it comes down to opportunity.)
Standings-wise, the Islanders are now 10-13*-4 under Jack Capuano [*corrected to include yesterday's loss]. That has them tied with Edmonton at 35 points for 28th overall; both Orange and Blue clubs are five points behind 26th-place Ottawa, six points ahead of 30th-place New Jersey. In the power rankings, things aren't that much different, but check the tables after the jump for media rankings, true power rankings, and a few relevant links to weekend coverage.
Around the squad, Sound Tigers beatwriter Michael Fornabaio hilariously called the Isles' three-goalie rotation "Katie Strang's problem." I'm definitely stealing that for the lexicon. ... As many noted, Kevin Colley in Utah (no longer the Isles ECHL affiliate) threw a pleasing tantrum -- though it looked a bit resigned or forced to my eyes. Not a method actor.
If you had yesterday or the weekend off (like, ahem, I did), Hanssen recapped yesterday's loss here, WebBard drew the JT hat trick recap here and also posted the weekly Bridgeport/Prospect round-up. There were also a bushel of FanShots over the weekend and holiday (for some), from discussion of Matt Moulson's standard pending free agent comments in Newsday, to Dee/7th Woman's reaction to Newsday's paint-by-numbers rehash on the state of the franchise, to two Isles prospects minding the future in the middle of a college brawl.
Elsewhere around the league, Mike Commodore cleared re-entry waivers in Columbus, which means that every team in the league was too afraid of that combo of his declining form and even the 50% discount on that contract. He'll be playing in Springfield though, so if you disagree with that evaluation, you can check him out in the AHL soon.
Media Rankings Survey
The tone of commentary has changed -- why, even Burnside's cheap shot well went dry. Beating Pittsburgh and Detroit will do that, I guess.
|Outlet||Rank||Last Week||Their Commentary|
||The Isles are still playing some pretty decent hockey these days, while John Tavares continues to shows signs he'll live up to expectations.|
|ESPN||27||27||Forward John Tavares is on fire for the Islanders with eight goals and five assists in his past 10 games.|
|Sportsnet (Brophy)||28||28||John Tavares's second-career hat trick sparks the Islanders to a 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. [Sportsnet has ranked the Isles 28th three consecutive weeks; they checking our Real Power Rankings or something?]
They're not offering comment after each pick, but Scott Cullen's well-thought-out ranking system is explained here.
Pundits have switched to kicking the Devils now, with Tavares's tear keeping their dogs at bay.
Real NHL Power Rankings
In the true power rankings, the Islanders' power number continued to rise, though they were unable to jump another spot in the rankings. Despite the ugly loss to the Senators, they're now much closer to 27th-place Ottawa than they were to then-27th Toronto last week. New Jersey's power number jumped -- and that's before yesterday's win at the expense of the Isles -- but they were still mired in last and a sub-1000 figure before yesterday's game.
As always, these are updated through Sunday's games. Formula and calculations courtesy of our own ICanSeeForIslesAndIsles -- who is also often the one you'll find compiling FIG picks in the game thread.
Explanation of how he does it is in the original post. If you have any questions about it, leave them in comments and he'll likely answer.