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Magic Number Tracker: Sunday, March 11

Can you feel those magic numbers getting smaller? They definitely shrunk on Saturday despite the Preds’ shootout loss.

Nashville Predators v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Each day for the remainder of the regular season, we’ll update two things – what the Preds’ magic number is for playoff positioning, and which results are preferential for the best possible playoff positioning.

(One caveat: every game assumes a regulation or overtime result for tiebreaker purposes. Shootouts will muddy the waters a bit, so the fewer, the better. We will, however, consider them when they are an immediate concern.)

How the magic number is calculated

The magic number is the difference between the Preds’ current point total and the maximum point total of whatever team is in the spot of reference (i.e., whichever playoff spot is in question), plus one point to avoid tiebreakers.

For example, Nashville currently sits at 97 points, and second-place Winnipeg’s maximum possible point total is 121, so the Preds’ magic number to clinch the Central Division title is 25 (121-97+1). It’s a combination of points gained by Nashville, plus points lost by the other team in question.

That number seems like a lot, but it could drop by as many as four points if both teams play on the same night.

Yesterday’s impacts

The Ducks dropped one in regulation in Dallas, which means the Kings become the team to watch. Los Angeles can bypass Anaheim and put them in the second wild-card spot – which would match up against Nashville if the standings ended up that way.

Six teams are separated by five points in the wild-card watch, so things could change in the final four weeks.

Current magic numbers to clinch

These numbers are how many points the Preds need (either by their wins or others’ losses) to guarantee a finish in that spot, basically climbing the next rung up the ladder, if you will.

Playoff spot: 12

1st wild card: 13

2nd in Central, home ice in first round: 17

Win Central Division: 25

1st in Western Conference: 25

Presidents’ Trophy: 30

Tracking the tracker

Past versions can be found here:

Saturday, March 10

Friday, March 9

Thursday, March 8

Wednesday, March 7

Tuesday, March 6

Sunday’s rooting interests

Eleven games, including the Preds’ contest against New Jersey, make up Saturday’s slate, with lots to keep an eye on from noon to night…

Playoff interests

N.Y. Islanders @ Calgary: The Flames are sticking in the playoff race and may become a potential first-round opponent, too.

Dallas @ Pittsburgh: There are seven teams within five points of each other hovering around those wild card spots. Dallas just so happens to be one of that pack.

Central interests

None to speak of today.

Top seeding interests

Boston @ Chicago: They literally just played each other yesterday. For magic numbers’ sake, Boston needs to lose, but I’m not telling you to root for Satan, either.

Games of no consequence

Vancouver @ Arizona: Don’t do this to yourself.

More goodies

Sports Club Stats does a great job of breaking down the percentages of where teams will finish and who they could play in the postseason. Check it out here.

Hockey Reference gives you more numbers to peruse, and it can be found here.


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