NHL Power Rankings 4/17: Let's Do This!

Right hand on red! - Bruce Bennett

We keep waiting for the anvil to fall from the sky and crush our heads in, but it hasn't happened. Could this be the year?

Sigh! I had written just about this entire post, and naturally Firefox has to crash. Could've sworn I hit the save button every now and then, but the interwebs beg to differ. So this is going to be a bit shorter (minus whatever links Dom decides to throw in).

*Click "Save as draft"*

A few links:

Weekly Round-Up of Opinion Polls

Site Ranking Prior Comments
CBS 14 15 The Islanders have been playing great of late, going 8-1-2 in the last 11. The key has been strong play in their own zone; they have given up two or fewer in eight straight. The Isles' last five games come on the road, but against mostly bad teams.
THN 12 --- While John Tavares leads the charge and ascends to superstardom, Evgeni Nabokov is this team’s X-Factor and could lead them to something really surprising. Nabokov hasn’t allowed more than two goals in April yet.
ESPN 13 12 You know how much it just killed the Islanders and their loyal fans to lose in overtime to the hated Rangers on Saturday night. Ouch.
TSN 17 17 It's been a long, strange trip for LW Josh Bailey, who is still only 23, but he's giving the Isles the secondary offence they need, scoring seven goals and 11 points in the last 14 games.
Fox Sports 16 17 Not that defense has been an issue of late, but the Isles have defensemen Brian Strait and Joe Finley back from injury. The Islanders are 7-2-1 over their last 10, the most recent game a 1-0 loss to the Rangers in OT on Saturday.
Average 14.4 15.3 All in favor of voting LeBrun the Negative Nancy of the group, say "aye"!

You would think the Isles would rise in every poll, given that they didn't lose in regulation last week, but Pierre LeBrun of ESPN spotted that and said "NOT ON MY WATCH!!!" So the Isles move up about one position on average.

/Me clicks "Save as draft"/

LHH Power Rankings

Calculated by yours truly, for games through 4/15/13 (so the victory over the Panthers doesn't count):

Overall
EAST W L OTL Pts Win Pct PWR Rank
1 Pittsburgh 32 10 0 64 0.762 2177 2
2 Boston 26 11 4 56 0.683 1923 4
3 Montreal 26 11 5 57 0.679 1895 5
4 Toronto 24 13 5 53 0.631 1837 8
5 Ottawa 21 14 6 48 0.585 1678 12
6 NY Rangers 21 16 4 46 0.561 1617 15
7 NY Islanders 21 16 5 47 0.560 1579 17
8 Buffalo 18 19 6 42 0.488 1469 19
9 Washington 23 17 2 48 0.571 1463 20
10 Winnipeg 21 19 2 44 0.524 1454 21
11 Philadelphia 18 21 3 39 0.464 1364 23
12 New Jersey 15 17 10 40 0.476 1357 24
13 Carolina 17 22 2 36 0.439 1285 26
14 Tampa Bay 17 22 3 37 0.440 1144 29
15 Florida 13 22 6 32 0.390 1080 30

Right where they've been the past few weeks, in terms of conference position. Their 17th overall spot is worse than the opinion polls, but that's because pollsters tend to weigh more recent games more heavily (I'm not criticizing them... there's something to be said for a recent run of play). Buffalo's still kinda high up there, since they're in a division with 4 of the top 5 teams in the conference (therefore, whatever points they've picked up against their division rivals shines a little more brightly).

There are doors to your east and north. What do you wish to do?

1) Go east

2) Go north

>>3) Click "save as draft"<<

4) Drink a potion

Standings from an Alternate Universe

Awarding more points for putting your opponent away earlier (regulation) than a later (skills competition):

(Number of points) (5) (4) (3) (2) (1) (0) Actual
EAST RW OTW SOW SOL OTL RL Pts Place
1 Pittsburgh 27 2 3 0 0 10 152 1
2 Montreal 21 2 3 2 3 11 129 2
3 Toronto 22 2 0 5 0 13 128 4
4 Boston 21 1 4 2 2 11 127 3
5 Washington 17 3 3 0 2 17 108 T5
6 Ottawa 16 1 4 4 2 14 106 T5
7 Winnipeg 17 3 1 2 0 19 104 9
8 NY Islanders 16 2 3 1 4 16 103 7
9 NY Rangers 14 3 4 4 0 16 102 8
10 Philadelphia 15 2 1 2 1 21 91 12
11 Buffalo 12 1 5 4 2 19 89 10
12 Carolina 16 1 0 1 1 22 87 14
13 Tampa Bay 15 1 1 2 1 22 87 13
14 New Jersey 12 1 2 7 3 17 87 11
15 Florida 9 1 3 1 5 22 65 15

The Isles finally get into a playoff position (they're winning more games in regulation, recently). And look at positions 5 through 9, which are separated by a mere six points. When five points are awarded for a regulation victory, this would be one helluva race. Even Philly, who might be warming up, would have more than a ghost of a chance to sneak in. But what do I know? I'm not a Hobit with a penchant for magically-appearing bonus points.

Maybe I won't click "save as draft" this time. Just kidding! *Click!*

Remaining Schedules of Playoff Bubble Teams

These are through the games of 4/16/13 (so they include the Isles' victory over the Cats). Focusing only on 6th through 9th now, as we really couldn't care less who's below 9th, and there's no point looking at what's above 6th until we get there ourselves:

Current Top Bottom
Place Team GP Pts Five OTT NYR NYI WPG Six
6 Ottawa 42 50 5 --- 0 0 0 1
7 NY Islanders 43 49 1 0 0 --- 1 3
8 NY Rangers 42 46 0 0 --- 0 0 6
9 Winnipeg 43 46 2 0 0 1 --- 2

If you want to focus solely on clinching a playoff birth, the Isles have one more game (3 total) remaining against the bottom six teams than the Jets do (2). Of course, they also play each other on Saturday, so that's kind of a big deal. It also happens to be the final head-to-head game remaining amongst these bubble teams. Winnipeg has two games left against the top five teams in the league, when the Isles only have one (the Leafs, who are their next opponents), so the Isles' schedule is a bit easier than theirs.

Looking at the 7th vs 8th seeds, well with the Rangers' loss to Philly (a team that can only seem to win when they no longer have any pressure to make the playoffs.... Isn't that right, sports media, who always said that about the Isles?!), the Isles now control their own destiny.

And if you dare to look ahead, Ottawa has five games left against teams above them in the standings. You'd have to think that there will be at least some points left on the table over these final two weeks.

Did someone say something about playoffs? (Sorry I'm pretty sure we're contractually obligated to throw that in).

*Click "save as draft"* Just in case.

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