The NHL season is now over a quarter old, but among the New York-area sports teams, only one has been a big factor in the early going. Over the last week, the New York Rangers won three more games to extend their winning streak to five. The New Jersey Devils dropped all three games they played by a total score of 14-5. Meanwhile, the New York Islanders were slight surprises, winning two of three, but collecting points in every game.
It all adds up to more of the same in terms of the NHL power rankings, however, compiled by Real Clear Sports. RCS averages the rankings of seven media outlets around the internet to come up with its own ranking. After their strong week -- with victories over the Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning -- the Blueshirts jumped up two spots to fourth. The Devils slid all the way down from No. 17 to No. 25 after losing to the Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild and Winnipeg Jets -- all on the road. Even after a solid week -- all on the road, as well -- the Islanders only improved by one position, to 27th. If one thing is for certain, it's very easy to jump up or fall down when you're in the middle of the pack. It's much tougher to improve when you're within the top seven teams, and it's difficult to fall in the rankings when you're among the worst teams.
SB Nation NY's Stephen Crociata created his own NHL power rankings -- placing the Rangers No. 2, the Islanders 26th and the Devils 27th. He called the Devils' season thus far "embarrassing" because of their scoring woes.
The Rangers figure to be within the top ten next week, but their week already began with a loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday. It was their second regulation loss on home ice all year -- and both came against Toronto. It may be tough to improve upon their fourth spot in the rankings. The Devils will also take on the Maple Leafs, but on the road, on Tuesday. The Isles kick off their week with a clash with the Lightning. The Blueshirts will have a busy four-game week, while the Devils and Islanders will each play three games apiece.