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Magic Number Tracker: Monday, March 12

There are points to be gained on Monday, even if the Preds aren’t playing.

Edmonton Oilers v Nashville Predators Photo by Frederick Breedon/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 98 points, and second-place Winnipeg’s maximum possible point total is 119, so the Preds’ magic number to clinch the Central Division title is 22 (119-98+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

Dallas, Calgary and Boston all lost, but none moved the needles at all. It does move Nashville a couple of points closer to assuring at least third in the Central, but that’s not a spot we’re tracking. The Bruins did, however, fall behind in the Presidents’ Trophy race with their loss at Chicago.

As far as tragic numbers go, here we are:

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: 10

1st wild card: 11

2nd in Central, home ice in first round: 14

Win Central Division: 22

1st in Western Conference: 24

Presidents’ Trophy: 29

Tracking the tracker

Past versions can be found here:

Sunday, March 11

Saturday, March 10

Friday, March 9

Thursday, March 8

Wednesday, March 7

Monday’s rooting interests

The new week kicks off with an eight-game slate, with several wild-card hopefuls in action.

Playoff interests

St. Louis @ Anaheim: The Ducks are only three points ahead of the Blues, so St. Louis can make everything just a little tighter. It’s best to keep the Ducks on the other side of the bracket, though.

Vancouver @ Los Angeles: The Kings want to keep causing chaos, but since we’re looking for the Preds to clinch sooner, the Canucks are the call here.

Detroit @ San Jose: The Sharks are by no means in the clear, as they’re only two points in front of the Kings. Depends on what you want to see - if you’re okay with facing the Sharks, take the Red Wings. If not, San Jose it is.

Central interests

Winnipeg @ Washington: Easy choice here.

Top seeding interests

Vegas @ Philadelphia: The Flyers have had chances to prove very helpful in recent days, and could do so again tonight.

Games of no consequence

Carolina @ N.Y. Rangers: Interesting from an Eastern Conference standpoint in that both teams are desperate for points to stay in the wild card hunt.

Montreal @ Columbus: Lumbus is lumbering in the final wild card spot and badly need the two points here.

Ottawa @ Florida: The Panthers are lurking in case the Blue Jackets falter.

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.


Do you think the Predators will clinch a playoff spot in the next seven days?

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