I haven't broken a New Year's resolution in over 15 years. Mostly because that's when I decided to stop making them. The opinion polls seem to think the Isles don't need much of one, either.
Weekly Roundup of Opinion Polls
|Site||Updated||New Ranking||Prior Ranking||Comments|
|1||CBS||1/6/2015||5||6||An ugly loss to the Oilers somewhat mars a recent stretch of fantastic hockey from the Islanders. They're 7-2-1 in their last 10 and it seems like they are the good kind of streaky this year.|
|2||ESPN||1/5/2015||5||9||OK, so they lost to the lowly Oilers on Sunday night. Hey, someone has to lose to them once in a while. That doesn't take away from the awesome season the Isles are having.|
|3||TSN||1/6/2015||7||9||7-2-1 in the past 10 games is pretty nice, but Sunday night's 5-2 loss in Edmonton (Edmonton!) is tough to swallow.|
|4||Fox||1/1/2015||7||7||New York has moved into a tie with the slumping Penguins atop the Metropolitan Division. The Islanders are one of the biggest reasons the Eastern Conference playoffs look so much more interesting this season.|
|5||USA Today||---||---||---||None this week|
|6||SI||1/6/2015||7||5||Basic discussion was over the three-goal choke games. Go to link to read the full text.|
|Average||6||7||Sure, we think you're good, but... you didn't think we'd let the Oilers thing go, did you?|
If the opinion polls had a resolution for the Isles, it'd be "Don't play bad teams" I guess.
LHH Power Rankings
For games through 1/5/15.
|GP||Reg W||OT W||SO||OT L||Reg L||LHH Pts||LHH Pct||LHH Rating|
|4||Tampa Bay Lightning||41||22||2||5||0||12||155||0.630||116|
|6||New York Islanders||39||16||4||7||0||12||133||0.568||113|
|8||St. Louis Blues||39||17||3||5||1||13||131||0.560||110|
|10||New York Rangers||36||16||3||6||0||11||126||0.583||110|
|11||San Jose Sharks||40||18||1||6||1||14||132||0.550||109|
|12||Toronto Maple Leafs||40||17||1||4||2||16||122||0.508||109|
|14||Detroit Red Wings||39||16||3||8||2||10||136||0.581||108|
|15||Los Angeles Kings||40||17||1||6||4||12||132||0.550||102|
|24||Columbus Blue Jackets||37||11||2||5||2||17||93||0.419||89|
|25||New Jersey Devils||41||11||1||8||1||20||96||0.390||87|
A bit of a surprise as the Isles move up a bit, with a larger index number. This is likely from many of their vanquished opponents having good weeks, rather than from the Isles' own play, but a 2-1 record is pretty good anyways. Meanwhile, people who have been complaining that the Maple Leafs were rated higher than the Islanders can finally rest well at night. Their recent play has them down to a tie for 11th.
Meanwhile, here's a quick idea of the significance of regulation wins...
The team with the worst record right now is the 29th ranked Buffalo Sabres (a win percentage, by our scoring system, of .296). Beating them would give a base score of 7 × .296 = 2.072. To get the same score by beating a team in overtime (where the multiplier is 5), that opponent would have to have a win percentage of .414, which is basically where the 23rd ranked Flyers are. If the game goes to a shootout (multiplier of 4, regardless of outcome), the opponent would have to have a win percentage of .518 (17th ranked Winnipeg Jets territory).
If you run that same example with a middle of the road team, it's even more stark. A regulation win over 15th ranked Los Angeles is better than an overtime win against any other club. It's as good as an OT win over a team with a percentage of .770. No team is even close to that. Winning in overtime is better than losing, of course, but winning in regulation is far better. You might argue that it doesn't matter in the NHL's standings, and that's true, but as I have argued before, a truly elite team closes out games in 60 minutes, rather than hanging on until four-on-four drills or a skills competition
So when the Islanders cough up a lead, only to win it in OT or a shootout, it makes a difference. If I had one thing to recommend to the Isles for a new year's resolution, it would be to develop a killer instinct. I know chokes happen sometimes, but if most of those three goal leads never vanished, they'd be first overall.