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NHL Power Rankings: Islanders on the shores of a whole new world

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The Isles rocket up some opinion polls, rise in our own rankings, and I got to tell all my wedding guests (many Ranger fans) that the Isles climbed into first place.

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The Isles Are On Top!
The Isles Are On Top!
Mike Levak

No wedding hangover here!

As many pointed out to me via Twitter, the Isles top several sports outlets' opinion polls after their sweep of the Penguins. Apparently, if you beat the best team in your conference twice in a row, you automatically become the best team in the conference. It's a lovely sentiment, even if a tad premature.

Weekly Round-Up of Opinion Polls

Site Updated New Ranking Prior Ranking Comments
CBS 11/25/2014 3 12 A four-game winning streak highlighted by a sweep of the Pens has the Islanders back in the conversation among the best in the East. The vast improvement from a season ago remains remarkable.
ESPN 11/24/2014 1 13 A home-and-home sweep of the Penguins sends a statement to the rest of the league: the Isles are for real. They've won eight of their last 10 games. And man, they're fun to watch.
TSN 11/24/2014 12 --- While the Islanders' 8-1 record in the past nine games includes three shootout wins, there is a lot to like about how they are getting their points, with a strong (and typically sustainable) possession game at the foundation.
Fox 11/20/2014 9 21 We're trying to remember the last time the Islanders had three players (Brock Nelson, John Tavares, Kyle Okposo) among the NHL's leaders in points. We think their names were Trottier, Bossy and Potvin.
USA Today 11/17/2014 8 --- Jaroslav Halak has settled down after a rough start to his Islanders career, and Brock Nelson is thriving.
THN 11/24/2014 1 9 "This is a new hockey club with a new attitude," said coach Jack Capuano after a home-and-home sweep of Pittsburgh. Coming up: Four Metro division games.
Average 6 14 To be the best, you have to beat the best. And that's it. You don't have to do anything else.

Fox Sports and USA Today still lag behind date-wise. The Washington Post doesn't seem to update their rankings anymore, so they've been sent to the minors. THN, which as far as I remember didn't have power rankings, have them now, so I threw them in. They, along with ESPN, are all aboard the band wagon. It's nice our club finally has some nice press, but these two media sources appear to rely heavily on "what have you done for me lately." The Lighthouse Hockey power rankings remove the "lately" part.

Meanwhile, TSN and the more tardy outlets have the Isles far lower. Very Jeckyl-and-Hyde this week.

LHH Power Rankings

For all games through 11/24/14 (which includes the win over Philly):

GP Reg W OT W SO OT L Reg L LHH Pts LHH Rating
1 Pittsburgh Penguins 20 11 1 3 1 4 81 136
2 Tampa Bay Lightning 22 11 2 3 0 6 83 122
3 Montreal Canadiens 23 11 1 4 1 6 84 120
4 Nashville Predators 20 11 0 3 1 5 77 117
5 St. Louis Blues 21 11 1 3 0 6 79 116
6 Detroit Red Wings 21 9 2 3 2 5 75 116
7 New York Islanders 21 9 1 5 0 6 73 114
8 Vancouver Canucks 21 10 2 3 0 6 77 111
9 Anaheim Ducks 22 9 1 6 2 4 80 111
10 Toronto Maple Leafs 21 10 1 1 1 8 69 108
11 Calgary Flames 22 8 2 4 1 7 70 107
12 New York Rangers 20 6 2 5 0 7 59 107
13 Minnesota Wild 20 10 1 1 0 8 67 103
14 Chicago Blackhawks 21 8 1 3 1 8 63 102
15 Los Angeles Kings 21 9 1 3 2 6 71 101
16 San Jose Sharks 23 8 0 6 0 9 66 101
17 Ottawa Senators 20 7 1 3 2 7 59 97
18 Winnipeg Jets 22 7 1 4 1 9 60 94
19 Boston Bruins 23 9 2 2 1 9 70 93
20 New Jersey Devils 21 7 1 3 1 9 57 93
21 Philadelphia Flyers 20 6 2 3 0 9 53 93
22 Dallas Stars 21 7 0 2 3 9 54 92
23 Florida Panthers 19 5 1 4 3 6 52 91
24 Washington Capitals 20 6 2 3 1 8 55 90
25 Colorado Avalanche 21 5 0 4 3 9 48 87
26 Arizona Coyotes 22 5 2 3 1 11 49 85
27 Edmonton Oilers 21 6 0 1 1 13 41 75
28 Columbus Blue Jackets 20 6 0 1 1 12 41 73
29 Carolina Hurricanes 20 5 1 2 1 11 42 73
30 Buffalo Sabres 21 4 0 3 1 13 35 72

The Isles got up to fifth after their wins against the Pens, and then dropped a bit by not getting full credit against the Flyers. That being said, their index number jumped and they are now solidly above average. Five of the six teams above them have 11 regulation wins, compared to the Isles' 9, so it shouldn't be too surprising that the Isles aren't higher. The Isles' 5-0 record in shootouts go as full credit in Bettman's reward system, but not here.

So the Isles probably shouldn't be thought of as the top team in the league, but they are certainly a very good team, and that's something we haven't been able to say in a long, long time.

The rankings will take a bye week next week (otherwise known as a honeymoon). See you all on the second Wednesday in December.