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NHL Power Rankings 12/11/14: Islanders hover, we explore different criteria

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As the Isles struggle to hold a lead, we struggle to figure out where they belong in the league.

It might be in red and green, but that's no Christmas present.
It might be in red and green, but that's no Christmas present.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that's one helluva way to realize that the honeymoon is (literally) over. Last night's embarrassment against the Wild don't factor into this week's power rankings, which have the Isles in 10th overall.

But first, a look at what others are saying about our boys...

Weekly Roundup of Opinion Polls

Site Updated New Ranking Prior Ranking Comments
1 CBS 12/9/2014 6 5 Jaroslav Halak has provided improvement the Islanders desperately needed between the pipes as this club continues to make the final season on Long Island a memorable one.
2 ESPN 12/8/2014 5 4 You watch games like Saturday's 6-4 loss to St. Louis in which the Isles blew a 3-0 first-period lead, and you ponder whether or not they're the real deal. Still, what is undeniable is the fact the Isles have not lost two in a row in well over a month and lead the league with a 5-0 record in shootouts.
3 TSN --- --- 6 None this week
4 Fox 12/4/2014 2 1 The Capitals cooled the Islanders' surge with a convincing win in D.C. but New York started a new streak with wins over the Devils and Senators. The Islanders have won 12 of their last 14 games.
5 USA Today 12/1/2014 5 8 Islanders 11-3 record in November is their best in 34 years.
Average 5 5 Nice, ESPN. Nice.

Winning streaks will always bump teams up further than they should be, but 5th overall is at least close to reasonable.

LHH Power Rankings

Others on this site (and undoubtedly elsewhere) have tried to find ways of ascertaining just how good or bad the Islanders are. HockeyGoalieEh, for example, has posted a methodology in the comments section, where he averages a team's record with that of their opponents. More recently, JPinVirginia has been posting his own take on things, factoring in all sorts of fancy stats to come up with a composite index.

While the LHH rankings will always be based strictly on results (the "what"), I imagine JP's exercise could very well provide the "why." So for this week, I'm going to compare the rankings (see the final two columns) to see how closely they parallel each other...

For games through 12/8/14.

GP Reg W OT W SO OT L Reg L LHH Pts LHH Rating JPinVA's Ranking Diff
1 Pittsburgh Penguins 27 14 2 3 2 6 105 125 2 -1
2 Chicago Blackhawks 27 14 1 3 1 8 99 122 1 1
3 Tampa Bay Lightning 28 15 2 4 0 7 110 121 3 0
4 Detroit Red Wings 28 14 2 4 2 6 108 119 5 -1
5 Vancouver Canucks 28 14 2 3 1 8 103 114 14 -9
6 Nashville Predators 26 13 1 4 1 7 96 114 4 2
7 St. Louis Blues 28 13 2 5 0 8 101 113 7 0
8 Toronto Maple Leafs 26 13 1 1 2 9 89 113 19 -11
9 Anaheim Ducks 29 12 2 7 2 6 105 113 11 -2
10 New York Islanders 27 11 3 5 0 8 93 109 10 0
11 Montreal Canadiens 29 12 1 5 1 10 93 106 18 -7
12 San Jose Sharks 29 12 0 6 0 11 90 106 9 3
13 Calgary Flames 28 11 3 4 1 9 92 106 22 -9
14 Los Angeles Kings 27 12 1 4 2 8 92 105 6 8
15 New York Rangers 26 8 3 5 0 10 75 104 17 -2
16 Minnesota Wild 25 11 2 2 0 10 80 101 8 8
17 Washington Capitals 26 9 2 3 2 10 75 95 15 2
18 Winnipeg Jets 28 10 2 4 3 9 86 94 16 2
19 Ottawa Senators 27 7 2 4 3 11 68 94 24 -5
20 Florida Panthers 26 9 1 5 3 8 79 93 13 7
21 New Jersey Devils 28 9 1 4 1 13 72 92 20 1
22 Boston Bruins 28 10 3 2 1 12 80 90 12 10
23 Philadelphia Flyers 26 7 2 4 0 13 62 90 25 -2
24 Dallas Stars 27 9 0 2 4 12 68 88 23 1
25 Colorado Avalanche 27 6 1 4 4 12 60 83 26 -1
26 Columbus Blue Jackets 26 8 0 2 1 15 56 80 29 -3
27 Arizona Coyotes 28 6 2 3 2 15 57 80 27 0
28 Carolina Hurricanes 27 7 1 2 1 16 54 77 21 7
29 Buffalo Sabres 27 5 0 5 1 16 47 77 30 -1
30 Edmonton Oilers 27 7 0 1 4 15 53 75 28 2

First of all, let's just take a moment to reflect on the Sabres not being in 30th.... OK, moving on.

Well, there does appear to be a half-way decent correlation between JP's work and the LHH formula. The Isles are ranked 10th in both. Sure, there are outliers (the Canucks and Leafs are ranked far lower by JP, whereas several teams are rated far higher by him). There will always be a few teams who are either lucky or unlucky, so that isn't a big surprise. In all, the average difference for each team is about 3 and a half positions.

In other words, keep up the good work, JP. You seem to be on to something. Maybe he can explain why the Isles have been unraveling faster than a five-year-old's Christmas presents lately.

The Isles are shown as solidly above average, and the loss to Minny won't change that too much. Also, five of the top 10 teams are from the East. If people are still saying that the West is better, maybe they should begin to rethink that.

We're well past the quarter pole, and there have been enough interconference games to suggest that the East has at least gotten into the same stratosphere. Oh, and it's always good to see the Flyers below average. Andrew MacDonald... the gift that keeps on giving! And how weird is it to see Boston that low?

That's all for now. Time to start my holiday shopping. Weak battle level.