Something something coaching something results.
This week, everyone who bothered to update their rankings, and actually knows something about hockey (looking at you ESJWPN), related a comment on the ability of the coaching staff to have the team performing at this level.
When we last looked 2 weeks ago, the Isles had 9 games to go until the break, and hopes were that we’d manage to go 6-3 in that time. So far, the Isles are 6-2, with the two losses not coming, as many expected, to Tampa and Washington. 5 game winning streaks, consecutive shutouts, holding teams to under 20 shots in a game (remember when we hoped we might hold a team to under 20 in a period?) and 4 lines of relentless pressure would make you think we not only had a walrus in net, but had a pack of polar bears playing in front of him.
So far this season, 171 players in the NHL have registered 10+ goals, and average of 5.5 per team. 48 of those players are on Metro teams. 8 of them are on the Isles.
The Isles have also performed this way in spite of the average to sub-par performance of special teams, so there is still room for this team to get better.
Anyways, here’s what the guys who get paid to talk about hockey have to say:
Entry # 5 - Feb 17, 2019
|Site||Updated||New Ranking||Prior Ranking||Comments|
|Site||Updated||New Ranking||Prior Ranking||Comments|
|Buffalo News||2/16/2019||6||6||Playoff site decision using both arenas is probably best compromise.|
|The Hockey Guy||2/16/2019||3||3||There isn't a player on this roster that is not playing well.|
|ESPN||2/14/2019||6||5||What's so wrong about loving two goalies equally? Robin Lehner has gotten a bit more attention, but Thomas Greiss is only a slight step behind and has gone 4-0-1, saving 154 of 157 shots (.981 save percentage) in his past five games.|
|SportsNet||2/13/2019||4||4||Trade Deadline Prediction: Trader upgrader… we’re guessing. Lou Lamoriello’s lips are sealed like the Ark of the Covenant, but the GM has to reward a group that has rocked the Metropolitan, doesn’t he? While his lack of a 2019 third- or fourth-round pick gives us reason to think he’d be hesitant to let go of a first or second as well, the Islanders should be in the mix for the high-end forwards that become available.|
|NBC||2/11/2019||7||7||The Islanders are a perfect 9-0 in the second half of back-to-backs.|
|CBS||2/6/2019||6||6||They're legitimate. They beat who they're supposed to and give the real ones a fight. Barry Trotz really got this defense up to par.|
|NJ.com||2/5/2019||5||5||A 1-0 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning provided another example of how the Islanders can hang with the league's top teams. After being the NHL's worst defense in 2017-18, things have turned around dramatically on Long Island.|
So with all that talking out of the way, let’s look at the actual numbers.
The Worst Division in Hockey
Yes, the Isle sit atop the weakest division in the NHL. That it’s the weakest division is not our fault. It hold 4 of the bottom 10 teams in the league. We managed to drop a game to two of them in the last 2 weeks. We also took the best team in the league to school. It was enough to jump the Isles up into the top 4 in the league. Pittsburgh and Columbus are no slouches, and Washington’s recent skid sees them outside the top 10.
Metro - 100.5
|1||New York Islanders||58||32||18||8||72||116.0||4||115.6||4|
|2||Columbus Blue Jackets||57||33||23||1||67||109.7||7||105.2||10|
|14||New York Rangers||57||19||30||8||46||87.7||25||85.8||26|
|15||New Jersey Devils||58||21||33||4||46||87.6||26||88.7||25|
The Other Side
Tampa hit a couple road bumps, but otherwise continue to run away with the Presidents Trophy race. Toronto has fallen on tough times recently (awwwww!) (no, really... hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha) and the mayor is considering confiscating all Maple Leaf themed bedding so as to prevent mass suicide. Their 7.3 point drop was worst among all 31 NHL teams, out-non-performing even the Devils (-6) and Dallas (-5.6) and Washington (-5). But that was only enough to drop them to 3rd overall.
Atlantic - 102.0
|1||Tampa Bay Lightning||59||40||14||5||85||128.3||1||126.2||1|
|2||Toronto Maple Leafs||58||36||22||0||72||117.6||3||117.5||3|
|13||Detroit Red Wings||59||21||31||7||49||88.2||24||89.2||23|
The Chicago Conference
If NBC was to be believed, the Blackhawks are the only team in the NHL worth putting on national TV. They’re only the worst team in the rankings, though Comcast darlings Philadelphia are going to challenge them for that distinction.
There are a couple of good teams out there, though, regardless of the news feeds. Calgary jumps into 2nd. Winnipeg is strong in 5th. San Jose, Dallas, Nashville and Vegas round out the top 10. Arizona makes the biggest jump this time, up 6.7 points and 6 spots in the ranking, now just outside the top 8.
Central - 100.7
|2||St. Louis Blues||57||30||26||1||61||109.7||7||101.2||11|
Pacific - 96.9
|2||San Jose Sharks||59||35||21||3||73||115.4||5||111.6||8|
|3||Vegas Golden Knights||60||30||27||3||63||98.8||16||99.4||16|
|13||Los Angeles Kings||58||21||33||4||46||85.2||28||86.4||28|
A poorly timed bye week awaits following a potential trap game against Chicago (31) tomorrow night.
Outside of Mat Barzal, the entire team gets an extended vacation.
When they get back into action in February, it’s right into the fire, but then several games against teams not in the top 10.
Fri 2/1 - vs Tampa (1)
Sat 2/2 - vs Los Angeles (25)
Tue 2/5 - at Boston (14)
Thu 2/7 - at New Jersey (28) - I have tickets for that game from work, meaning we’ll lose
Sat 2/9 - vs Colorado (20)
Sun 2/10 - vs Minnesota (15)
Tue 2/12 - at Buffalo (18)
Thu 2/14 - at Columbus (9)
Sat 2/16 - vs Edmonton (23)
After a few days off, the Isles make their “Let’s visit Alberta in February Because Who Doesn’t Love -20c Weather” road trip.
The next LHH Power Ranking edition should drop on 2/10.