Things change quickly in hockey, where fan moods swing as wildly as the average day in the life of a teenager. But the Bridgeport Sound Tigers' last month and a half has been something else.
This team won two games in December, to go with 10 losses. Then the New Year happened. Kevin Poulin's three consecutive 4-0 shutouts grew to a seven-game win streak (just one via shootout) after he and Anders Nilsson swapped places. How in the who in the -- now just what's going on here?
Here's Casey Cizikas as quoted at the Connecticut Post after the last win:
"The corps of guys we have right now, we don't have an all-star. We've got muckers and grinders," said Casey Cizikas, who had a goal and an assist in the first period. "Everybody's playing their roles, from forward to defense, and especially the goalies."
More on Cizikas and his kind of prospect later today. For now, here is your weekly survey of media NHL rankings and our own Power Rankings, where the Islanders have not had the wild swing that their farm team has experienced. Nonetheless, stabilizing into a win-some, lose-some mode over the last month has bumped them up ever so slightly. Along with it, the media pot shots we love to devour have faded. They'll be back though.
Media Power Rankings
Here is our media power rankings survey. As other teams start to struggle like they're in an Islander November, the Isles have inched up juuuust barely. Can't imagine the Nashville and Washington results will have changed much, but we'll see next week.
After the game in Philadelphia Thursday, the Islanders finish January with a two games against both the Hurricanes and Maple Leafs. We've fallen into this trap before, but it's possible that set provides the opportunity for yet another mood swing.
The Islanders have basically played NHL-.500 hockey since Thanksgiving, which isn't enough to make you a playoff team at any point but is enough to start crawling away from the league's darkest depths.
|Outlet||Rank||Last Week||Their Commentary|
||If it weren't for bad luck, Rick DiPietro would have no luck.|
||Victories over Wings, Sabres a good time, but it'll be tough to build on it with games this week against Preds, Caps and Flyers|
|27||27||Matt Moulson on pace for a career-high 41 goals.|
|Sportsnet||23||26||While goaltender Rick DiPietro is scheduled to a sports hernia surgery that will likely mean the end of his season, the Isles had a good week on the ice, beating both the Sabres and Red Wings at home.|
|25||26||5-3 in eight games prior to the Monday afternoon tilt against Nashville, the Islanders could really use some support for John Tavares, Matt Moulson and Kyle Okposo, as that trio has 25 points (the rest of the team also has 25 points) on 17 Islanders goals in January.|
||29||Evgeni Nabokov’s 23-save performance Saturday marked the 300th win of his NHL career. He joins Dominik Hasek, Nikolai Khabibulin and Olaf Kolzig as goaltenders born outside of North America to win 300.|
||24||[Oh, we'll add it soon enough.]|
For reference, here is last week's power rankings post.
Real Power Rankings
And now on to our weekly "real" power rankings courtesy of Mike, or ICanSeeForIslesAndIsles (who is the one you'll find tirelessly compiling FIG picks in the game thread), who conceived and delivers these week after week. They are calculated in true "power ranking" fashion -- i.e. how well teams fare based on their opponents' records.
Once again, these (as well as most of the media rankings above) reflect games through Sunday's games, so there is no love for last night's win over mid-tier Washington, nor punishment (yet) for Monday's loss to the Predators. The Islanders have risen one spot, Tampa Bay has taken a tumble, and Edmonton is teetering.
Tune in next week for how this week's games including Thursday in Philadelphia will affect things.