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NHL Power Rankings, Opinions, and Magic Numbers

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Opinion polls getting smaller? Expand something else then! Useless numbers for all!!!

Our calculations say there was a lot of power in the building last night.
Our calculations say there was a lot of power in the building last night.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

As feared, a tired Islanders team lost last night to their rested bitter rivals. Unfortunately, the power rankings don't take fatigue into consideration. But for this week's article, it doesn't matter, as the data only goes through March 9. But first...

Weekly Roundup of Opinion Polls

The list of participants is shrinking, my friends, but starting next week, we will have a new entry, thanks to a new reader who will be so kind as to translate a Montreal-based publication's French language text.

Site Updated New Ranking Prior Ranking Comments
CBS 3/10/2015 6 6 The Islanders have their New York neighbors breathing down their necks for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division, but they should get a boost with Kyle Okposo back soon. Meanwhile, John Tavares has taken over the league scoring lead with 72 points in 68 games.
ESPN 3/9/2015 6 6 John Tavares deserves to be one of the three Hart Trophy finalists this season. Case closed.
Fox 3/5/2015 7 4 The Islanders made minor tweaks at the trade deadline, adding fourth-liner Tyler Kennedy and backup goalie Michael Neuvirth. We're not sure that will be enough to survive the Penguins, Rangers and Caps in the Metropolitan Division.
USA Today 3/8/2015 7 6 John Tavares is carrying the Islanders, recording eight points over their last six games in a 3-1-2 stretch.
Average 7 6 That John Tavares guy…. He's kinda good, isn't he?

Lofty praise from the Worldwide Leader. It's almost as though they started paying attention to hockey again because they won TV rights to some games or something. But in all seriousness, it's refreshing to hear JT getting recognition.

LHH Power Rankings

(For all games through 3/9/15)

GP Reg W OT W SO OT L Reg L LHH Pts LHH Pct LHH Rating
1 New York Rangers 64 32 5 8 2 17 240 0.625 118
2 Montreal Canadiens 66 32 4 9 3 18 241 0.609 116
3 Pittsburgh Penguins 66 29 6 9 4 18 233 0.588 116
4 Tampa Bay Lightning 67 37 2 6 2 20 252 0.627 115
5 New York Islanders 68 30 6 10 1 21 236 0.578 113
6 Nashville Predators 68 29 7 11 2 19 239 0.586 110
7 Detroit Red Wings 65 28 6 12 2 17 232 0.595 110
8 Anaheim Ducks 68 29 5 13 2 19 237 0.581 109
9 Vancouver Canucks 66 29 5 6 2 24 216 0.545 109
10 St. Louis Blues 65 29 4 11 2 19 227 0.582 109
11 Chicago Blackhawks 66 27 3 12 3 21 216 0.545 109
12 Washington Capitals 67 29 4 7 6 21 223 0.555 108
13 San Jose Sharks 67 28 2 8 3 26 206 0.512 104
14 Minnesota Wild 66 30 3 5 5 23 217 0.548 103
15 Los Angeles Kings 65 28 1 9 6 21 211 0.541 102
16 Boston Bruins 65 23 8 9 3 22 203 0.521 101
17 Calgary Flames 66 23 9 6 3 25 198 0.500 100
18 Winnipeg Jets 66 23 4 11 7 21 201 0.508 98
19 Dallas Stars 66 24 2 6 7 27 184 0.465 97
20 Ottawa Senators 64 23 3 10 5 23 190 0.495 97
21 Colorado Avalanche 66 20 2 12 7 25 178 0.449 95
22 Florida Panthers 66 21 1 17 4 23 189 0.477 93
23 Philadelphia Flyers 67 20 5 10 6 26 182 0.453 93
24 New Jersey Devils 66 23 1 10 4 28 180 0.455 91
25 Toronto Maple Leafs 67 21 2 6 3 35 158 0.393 90
26 Columbus Blue Jackets 65 20 3 6 2 34 154 0.395 90
27 Carolina Hurricanes 64 20 1 9 2 32 155 0.404 86
28 Edmonton Oilers 67 12 1 10 6 38 118 0.294 74
29 Arizona Coyotes 67 13 3 10 3 38 126 0.313 72
30 Buffalo Sabres 66 11 1 10 2 42 104 0.263 70

The Isles hold steady, while a bunch of other teams move in ways I can't comment on too much right now because I don't feel like being rational after watching the NHL hand a victory to the Rangers. But instead, I have another little nugget of information I think you guys will find interesting...

The Magic Numbers for All Eastern Conference Teams

It is assumed that the teams in playoff position would lose a tie breaker to the 9th place team, and therefore must finish with one more point to qualify. The Pts column is the NHL teams' points as of 3/9/15. Max Pts is the maximum number of points a team can still earn this year. The team with the ninth highest maximum point total - the Sens - are the team all magic numbers are based on.

W L OTL Pts Max Pts Magic#
1 Montreal Canadiens 42 18 6 90 122 18
2 New York Islanders 43 21 4 90 118 18
3 Tampa Bay Lightning 41 20 6 88 118 20
4 New York Rangers 40 17 7 87 123 21
5 Pittsburgh Penguins 38 18 10 86 118 22
6 Detroit Red Wings 37 17 11 85 119 23
7 Washington Capitals 36 21 10 82 112 26
8 Boston Bruins 33 22 10 76 110 32
9 Florida Panthers 29 23 14 72 104
10 Ottawa Senators 30 23 11 71 107 (9th)
11 Philadelphia Flyers 28 26 13 69 99
12 New Jersey Devils 28 28 10 66 98
13 Toronto Maple Leafs 26 35 6 58 88
14 Columbus Blue Jackets 27 34 4 58 92
15 Carolina Hurricanes 25 32 7 57 93
16 Buffalo Sabres 19 42 5 43 75

The Isles likely only need 17 points since they'll likely win the tie breaker against the Sens (who are way behind in ROWs), but better safe than sorry. Tonight, the Isles lost, but so did the Sens, so the Isles' magic number is now 16 (all other top eight teams also benefited).

Obviously, teams outside of the top 8 would have rather large numbers, and they won't be shown here for clarity's sake. We'll keep this exercise going until the 8 playoff spots are known.