To the five of you who read them (yes, I'm rounding up!), sorry there hasn't been any rankings posts lately. The Islanders aren't the only ones with injury concerns, but Team Levak is on the mend, so let's get back in the groove.
I have to admit, the sum total of Islander games I've seen in the last three weeks was (A) all of the Islander-Ranger game except for the damn goals, and (B) the second half of the third period against the Penguins. From what I understand, the Isles are winning lots of games despite playing like a pile of Avery. So this brings up an excellent question... Should the Isles be high on Power Rankings tables based on their wins, or lower down to reflect their actual form of play? Let's see what others say first. Note the two new columns to the right of the usual table.
Weekly Roundup of Opinion Polls
|Site||Updated||New Ranking||Prior Ranking||Comments||Rangers||Penguins|
|CBS||3/8/2016||11||12||The Isles are making their New York neighbors sweat after rattling off 10 wins over their last 13 games. They're now three points back with three games in hand as they are seemingly hitting their stride.||7||15|
|ESPN||3/7/2016||10||11||The Islanders are 7-2-1 in their past 10, and on Sunday posted their third win of the season against the Rangers. The Islanders are only three points behind the Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division.||7||12|
|TSN||3/7/2016||10||9||With two regulation losses in the past 13 games, the Islanders are quietly going about their business, and while they didn’t make any big trades, the acquisition of RW Shane Prince – a strong possession player who had three goals in 42 games for the Senators – could turn out to be a solid addition.||17||7|
|Fox||---||---||---||Super Bowl Hangover.|
|SI||3/8/2016||9||11||The Isles made it rain on their seven-game road trip, going 6-1 to bank 12 points. The capper was a wild 6-4 win over the Rangers at MSG that allowed them to pull to within three points of the Blueshirts and second place in the Metro. Up next: a must-win game with the fourth-place Penguins.||4||12|
|Average||10||10.8||I sure hope they win that must-win game!||8.8||11.5|
I decided to include where the Rangers (right ahead of the Isles) and Penguins (right behind them) are ranked in each poll. The Isles are consistently ranked around 10th, while three of the publications have the Rangers ranked higher (as high as 4th) and the Pens behind while TSN has it flipped. This shows that many publications base their rankings mostly on a team's record. I have to be honest, I thought that they would base it more on current winning streaks, so credit to them on not just jumping on bandwagons. TSN bases their rankings on fancy stats (their exact formula is unknown), which might explain why the 4th place Pens are ahead of the 3rd place Isles, who in turn are ahead of the 2nd place Rangers. They must not value goaltending as high as possession.
And our own calculations? Well they are based on bottom-line results, so the Isles make a significant jump...
LHH Power Rankings
for games through 3/7/16
|4||New York Islanders||63||29||4||6||4||20||216||109.1|
|6||New York Rangers||66||31||4||4||4||23||222||108.6|
|8||Los Angeles Kings||65||28||9||4||2||22||220||108.1|
|9||St. Louis Blues||67||28||6||8||5||20||226||107.8|
|10||San Jose Sharks||65||28||5||6||3||23||212||107.6|
|11||Tampa Bay Lightning||66||29||7||6||1||23||222||107.1|
|15||Detroit Red Wings||65||22||8||7||6||22||197||100.9|
|20||New Jersey Devils||67||21||8||8||1||29||184||94.7|
|25||Columbus Blue Jackets||66||21||1||9||4||31||165||89.0|
|29||Toronto Maple Leafs||65||15||1||11||5||33||137||82.6|
So the Isles wins factor heavily, especially because they were on the road (road points are weighted heavier to account for the fact that it's easier to win at home). It doesn't matter if the Isles were lucky. The rankings assume that luck ebbs and flows throughout the year, and the wins and losses eventually tell you who the better teams are (quick note... winning in regulation factors much higher than winning with the All-Star game format or the skills competition, and the Isles have won a good amount of their recent games in regulation).
Yes, if the Isles don't turn around their recent possession decline, luck will eventually turn on them. But for now, enjoy their lofty heights and hope the rest sorts itself out.
Final note: I think I started rambling and this might not all make sense. Sorry, I haven't slept in I think it's like a year now.