NHL Power Rankings, Islanders Remaining Schedule: View from the Nosebleeds

And stay down! Metaphorically speaking, of course. - Bruce Bennett

Now in playoff position, the question is not if the Isles are worthy, but whether anything could stop them.

I really wish there weren't games on Tuesdays. Either that, or the opinion poll people would put out their numbers a day earlier. The following punditry roundup and power rankings was compiled as last night's game proceeded. The schedule matrix of playoff hopefuls' remaining games appears at the bottom.

Beginning of the third period, Isles up 2-1. On with it...

Weekly Round-Up of Publications' Opinion Polls

Site Ranking Prior Comments
CBS 15 19 Good news: Naturally it's that they're still holding a playoff spot and six of the last nine are against non-playoff teams at this moment. Bad news: They're still the Islanders. Blowing leads is kind of what they do.
THN --- 19 No rankings this week.
ESPN 12 19 Crucial win over Tampa on Saturday shows the eighth-place Islanders are playoff material. They are 6-1-1 in their past eight and have an interesting week coming up with dates against the Flyers, Bruins and Rangers.
TSN 17 21 One regulation loss in the last eight has the Isles in a playoff position -- two points ahead of New Jersey and four points ahead of Winnipeg and Buffalo. The bumpy road that LW Josh Bailey has traveled has hit a smooth patch, as he's put up five points in the last four games, giving the Isles some much-needed complementary scoring.
Fox Sports 17 20 If the season concluded Sunday, the Islanders would have made the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season. There are still a couple weeks left and plenty of time for the Islanders — who have won six of their last eight — to cool down.
Average 15.3 19.6 Last call for Isles jokes!

An overall upward trend, as expected given the boys' recent run of play. ESPN (Burnside) even has them in the top dozen. And yet the overall sentiment is still rather tentative. They remember Islander swoons just as much as we do, I suppose.

LHH Weekly Power Rankings

Cold hard calculations provided by yours truly.

Overall
EAST W L OTL Pts Win Pct PWR Rank
1 Pittsburgh 29 10 0 58 0.744 2169 3
2 Montreal 25 8 5 55 0.724 2035 4
3 Boston 25 9 4 54 0.711 2014 5
4 Toronto 22 13 4 48 0.615 1811 9
5 Ottawa 19 13 6 44 0.579 1691 12
6 NY Rangers 19 16 4 42 0.538 1537 15
7 Buffalo 16 17 6 38 0.487 1530 16
8 NY Islanders 19 16 4 42 0.538 1521 18
9 New Jersey 15 14 10 40 0.513 1462 20
10 Winnipeg 19 19 2 40 0.500 1418 23
11 Philadelphia 17 18 3 37 0.487 1414 24
12 Washington 20 17 2 42 0.538 1391 25
13 Carolina 16 20 2 34 0.447 1297 26
14 Tampa Bay 16 20 2 34 0.447 1166 28
15 Florida 13 20 6 32 0.410 1144 29

The Isles actually drop a spot because, while they've won some games lately, it's mostly been against weaker competition (not their fault that their schedule got soft, but it still kinda stinks). Seeing Buffalo that high might confuse you as much as an English soccer team naming themselves after a day of the week (you're welcome, Dom!), but remember that they're only a few games behind everyone else, and they just beat a good team or two recently.

[8:15 to go in the game. Still 2-1. Plenty of squandered chances. Breathe.... Breathe....]

Standings From an Alternate Universe

Giving each type of win and loss a specific point value, with a regulation win earning 5 points, on down to zero for a regulation loss.


(Number of points) (5) (4) (3) (2) (1) (0)
Actual

EAST RW OTW SOW SOL OTL RL Pts Place
1 Pittsburgh 24 2 3 0 0 10 137 1
2 Montreal 20 2 3 2 3 8 124 2
3 Boston 20 1 4 2 2 9 122 3
4 Toronto 20 2 0 4 0 13 116 4
5 Ottawa 14 1 4 4 2 13 96 5
6 NY Rangers 14 2 3 4 0 16 95 T6
7 Washington 15 2 3 0 2 17 94 T6
8 Winnipeg 15 3 1 2 0 19 94 T9
9 NY Islanders 14 2 3 1 3 16 92 T6
10 New Jersey 12 1 2 7 3 14 87 T9
11 Philadelphia 14 2 1 2 1 18 86 12
12 Carolina 15 1 0 1 1 20 82 T13
13 Tampa Bay 14 1 1 2 0 20 81 T13
14 Buffalo 10 1 5 4 2 17 79 11
15 Florida 9 1 3 1 5 20 65 15

The Isles still wouldn't be in playoff position, but would be only a shootout win from 7th. Still a tight race for the playoffs... 5th through 10th would be separated by less than two regulation victories. And yet there wouldn't be any games that would be worth more points than any others. Hear that, Gary?!

Now, everything above was based on games through Monday. Below is through Tuesday, 'cause the Philly own goal just made it 3-1, aaaaaaaannnnddd.... Cizikas just iced it!

Remaining Schedules of Playoff Hopefuls

Current Top Bottom
Place Team GP Pts Five OTT NYR NYI NJ WPG Five
6 Ottawa 39 44 5 --- 0 0 1 0 3
7 NY Islanders 40 44 2 0 1 --- 0 1 4
8 NY Rangers 38 42 2 0 --- 1 2 0 5
9 Winnipeg 41 42 2 0 0 1 0 --- 4
10 New Jersey 39 40 5 1 1 0 --- 0 2

I focused on the middle five teams, as the Islanders could possibly move up another spot. The Isles, Rangers, and Jets all have only 2 games remaining against the top five teams in the conference. The Sens and Devils have what look to be much tougher schedules from here on out.

In the prior weeks, I was using some assumptions and good ol' math to try to ascertain what the Isles record would have to be over the last 16 games in order to get in. At the time, I said 10-6-0. Since then, they've been 6-1-1 including Tuesday night's victory over the Flyers, which would mean they'd have to go something like 3-5-1 the rest of the way, perhaps a little better than that just to make sure (as the season winds down, expect a few more three-point games).

Are you liking their chances?

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