OK, my fingers have finally stopped shaking after the Isles' shootout loss, which still locked up a playoff position. Thanks to the Florida Panthers (who thought we'd ever say that?!), we're still in sixth place, and all of Islanders Nation (are we nation sized yet? State? City? Small town?) can exhale.
And since the major publications sensed the inevitable, it's time to plant their tushes firmly on the bandwagon! But first, a few links...
- Further coverage from last night: Newsday | IPB (with KQ) | Eyes on Isles | AP
- CBC on Thomas Hickey. | SOE on the surprise run | SI puts Isles among NHL's "big surprises." | Sporting News on the Isles' late surge. | The official site on Brian Strait's return.
- Who is Jim Corsi? Great story on the man inadvertently behind the stat.
- Happy news: Cleland Ice Rink at Fort Bragg will probably stay open.
Randy Carlyle's helmet/concussion theory made me LOL. "Think about it."
Weekly Round-Up of Opinion Polls
|CBS||11||14||Seeing how they're the Islanders, I think a lot of people expected them to fall flat on their faces. Instead they have gone 11-1-2 in the last 14. Plus, they're just really fun to watch now.|
|THN||12||12||All three of Isles’ final regular-season games are on the road, but that’s more than fine by them: with a 14-5-2 record away from home, only Pens (17-5-0) and Hawks (17-2-2) are better.|
|ESPN||11||13||The Isles continue to write an incredible story to this season, going on a 11-1-2 run, including a dramatic shootout win in Winnipeg on Saturday. John Tavares is now front and center in discussion for the Hart Trophy.|
|TSN||13||17||11-1-2 in their last 14 games, the Islanders have hit their highest ranking since the second week of the season (when they were 12th). For all the Hart Trophy talk about how C John Tavares is single-handedly carrying the Isles to the playoffs, he's one of three Islanders with five goals and one of five with at least eight points in ten games this month, so it's fair to spread the credit around.|
|Fox Sports||15||16||The Isles are the hottest team in the East outside the Caps at the moment. The Islanders have not made the playoffs in six seasons and, just a few weeks ago, that trend looked like it would continue.|
|Average||12.4||14.4||Now that they're in the playoffs... We think they're gonna make the playoffs.|
Well well well. The first two listed here featured the Islanders in their weekly power rankings stories. Since Burnside takes over for LeBrun this week, even the ESPN rankings look kindly on our little team. You'll also notice both the terms "John Tavares" and "Hart" in the same comments. Man, when they jump on the wagon, they're all in.
LHH Weekly Power Rankings
Calculated by yours truly, based on records of vanquished opponents.Games through 4/22/13, so they don't count the night the Isles CLINCHED A PLAYOFF BERTH. Oh, sorry, just got carried away for a moment there.
The Isles jump another spot, to where they are in the actual standings now. They're also 15th overall. Normal caveat applies: Since the two conferences haven't played any games against each other, overall rankings are somewhat meaningless, but it's good to see them pull their weight, statistically.
Standings from an Alternate Universe
Awarding more points for finishing an opponent earlier (regulation>OT>shootout) and less points for losing earlier.
|(Number of points)||(5)||(4)||(3)||(2)||(1)||(0)||Last||Actual|
Note that there was a lot of movement. The next-to-last column shows each team's position the week before (the final column is the real world standings as of 4/22/13, not counting the automatic top three seeds for the three first place teams).
Here, the Sens drop from sixth to a tie for eighth with the Isles, and the Rangers squeak ahead. Again, plenty of movement near the end of the season, but much like in real life, it's a nine team race for eight spots. Philly would have to win the rest of its games in regulation and hope nobody above them nets a single point. Statistically, they're done. But again, fifth through ninth are separated by a mere two points, which is what you get for a shoot-out loss. There would be plenty of opportunity to move up in the final week of the season. But I'm sure that's nothing the NHL would want. Not at all.
One last thing... the Penguins would actually have the best record, beating out Chicago's 157 points by two full regulation wins. /me ducks flying tomatoes.
Remaining Playoff Teams Schedules
Man, it sure feels good to not be posting this with the intention of figuring out playoff possibilities. Now we can just focus on who will play who in the playoffs. And for that, here's all the teams still either in the hunt, or simply in (like us!!!!), and their remaining schedules:
x-clinched playoffs spot; y-clinched division
No need to over-analyze now. We're in, Baby! Yes, the Isles could move up or down a bit, but the ol' Barn in Nassau has some more games to play this year.
Back when I started this little exercise, the Isles had played 32 games and earned 31 points. After going through the remaining head-to-head contests amongst the bubble teams, I figured a 10-6-0 record would get them in the playoffs. Since then, the Isles have gone 10-1-3. It would appear 10-6-0 would have been a bare minimum, and another point was going to be required (even if Winnipeg wins their last game, I believe the Isles hold the tie breaker) to be certain of a top-eight finish. So I should've said 10-5-1 back then. So sue me. :-)
Let's hope the following years won't require waiting until the last week of the season. One more power rankings post at the end of the season. See you at the Coliseum!