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
|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.
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|
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
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?