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NHL Power Rankings: A Happy Holiday Season before the Force Awakens

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The Isles' winning ways are home for the holidays. The Force is strong with this one.

When 900 years old YOU reach, will not hit as well as I do!
When 900 years old YOU reach, will not hit as well as I do!
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

This article is typically written on Wednesdays but due to an office party it's being written on Tuesday, so last night's game against the Panthers doesn't factor into anything here. In fact, best to pretend that game never happened, like 1994.

As far as this article is concerned, the Isles went 3-0-0 in the NHL's eyes, even if our own rankings separate those wins into one of each variety (regulation, overtime, shootout). But those running opinion polls are all about the Bettman's, and so the Isles make a big leap:

Weekly Roundup of Opinion Polls

Site Updated New Ranking Prior Ranking Comments
CBS 12/15/2015 5 6 Currently one of the hottest teams in the NHL, the Isles haven't lost in regulation in their last 10 games. They're 8-0-2 over that stretch and haven't needed John Tavares to carry them. He has just four points over this hot streak.
ESPN 12/14/2015 2 10 The Islanders -- who have gone 8-0-2 in their past 10 -- are getting contributions throughout the lineup and moved into second in the Metro. Their most recent regulation loss came on Nov. 22 at Montreal. Kyle Okposo has two goals and two assists in his past two games. Goaltender Thomas Greiss made 27 saves to record his first shutout of the season.
TSN 12/14/2015 7 9 Sunday's win over New Jersey pushed the Islanders to 10 games without a regulation loss, though it also snapped a five-game streak of taking games to overtime or shootout.
Fox 12/14/2015 3 6 The Islanders' 18 points in their last 10 games is the most in the NHL during that span, and they are storming up the standings. And the good news is they aren’t relying too heavily on John Tavares, who has just three points in his last eight games. He was recently called the most underrated player in the NHL by Shea Weber. You know, the guy who almost won the Art Ross Trophy last year? He’s that good.
USA Today --- N/A 7 Hockey? That's the sport with the crooked sticks, right?
Average 4.3 7.6 It's like they're more than Tavares or something.

Seeing ESPN put the Isles all the way up in 2nd made me nearly lose my lunch. And then I saw that it wasn't LeBrun or Burnside running the show there, and the lunch called off the alarm and stood down. Literally. Only TSN mentions that the Isles have been winning a good number of these games after regulation. And in our table, that matters:

LHH Power Rankings

For games through 12/14/15

(6) (4) (3) (2) (0)
Reg OT OT Reg LHH LHH
GP W W SO L L Pts Rating
1 Dallas Stars 30 18 3 2 1 6 128 125.2
2 Montreal Canadiens 31 18 1 2 2 8 122 124.2
3 Next Target 29 17 2 2 2 6 120 120.8
4 Boston Bruins 29 14 1 1 3 10 97 110.0
5 New York Islanders 31 14 2 4 3 8 110 107.2
6 Los Angeles Kings 30 12 5 3 1 9 103 107.2
7 Minnesota Wild 28 14 1 0 6 7 100 107.1
8 Bye 31 16 1 2 2 10 110 106.5
9 St. Louis Blues 31 14 2 2 3 10 104 105.0
10 Colorado Avalanche 31 13 1 0 1 16 84 102.9
11 Chicago Blackhawks 31 12 5 0 4 10 100 102.5
12 Ottawa Senators 31 10 3 6 2 10 94 101.5
13 Detroit Red Wings 31 9 6 2 5 9 94 101.4
14 The Kessel Run 29 11 3 3 1 11 89 100.6
15 Winnipeg Jets 30 13 1 1 1 14 87 99.4
16 Nashville Predators 30 13 0 3 4 10 95 98.8
17 Florida Panthers 30 10 1 4 3 12 82 97.9
18 Blanked 30 8 5 5 1 11 85 97.6
19 Tampa Bay Lightning 31 12 2 3 1 13 91 97.3
20 San Jose Sharks 29 11 2 1 1 14 79 95.7
21 Arizona Coyotes 30 11 3 0 2 14 82 94.9
22 Vancouver Canucks 31 10 0 2 7 12 80 94.2
23 Toronto Maple Leafs 28 7 0 7 1 13 65 91.8
24 Phorgetaboutit 30 6 5 3 4 12 73 91.3
25 Edmonton Oilers 31 8 5 1 2 15 75 89.8
26 Buffalo Sabres 31 10 2 3 1 15 79 88.6
27 Cain't 30 8 4 1 3 14 73 87.8
28 Calgary Flames 29 5 7 2 1 14 66 85.5
29 Happy Torts Club 32 10 1 1 2 18 71 84.9
30 Anaheim Ducks 29 10 0 2 4 13 74 82.5


Metro Division opponents highlighted by names better suited for them as of this week. Apologies for making the Pens sound cool but I couldn't resist.

Now's a good time to mention that I'm going to observe radio silence (as Star Wars debuts to the general population) until Saturday night (when I finally get to see it), so I'll be getting to your comments on, say, Sunday after I get over my blue milk hangover.

The Isles only move up one spot, and even at that, it was only because the Kings lost the other night. The tie against the Flyers (yeah sure it was a shootout win, but we call it for what it is, and calculate it as such) is only worth half credit against an already week opponent, and the shootout win against an even weaker Blue Jackets squad only counts as two-thirds credit. Even regulation wins against teams in the lower half of the table aren't going to move you up that much. It's better than losing to them, of course, but the strength of schedule matters, and the soft spot the Isles had this week will be enjoyed by other teams at various other points in the season. It all evens out in the end, mostly.

Meanwhile, Edmonton is 25th, despite being third in their weak conference. How weird is it to see the Ducks at the bottom? At the opposite end, three teams have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. That includes the Metro leading Caps, who the Isles don't play until a week into the new year. And despite all of their off season moves that acquired bruisers to fill their roster, the Bruins are in 4th.

Talk to you after the premiere. May the Force be with you and the Isles.