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 118, so the Preds’ magic number to clinch the Central Division title is 21 (118-98+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.
Nashville took a step closer on Monday evening with the wild card teams shuffling, knocking the magic number to clinch a playoff spot to eight points. That number could drop by as many as three points tonight (but not four, as St. Louis - which is actually ninth in maximum potential points - does not play this evening, and eighth-seeded Colorado could fall one point below the Blues in that regard with a regulation loss). The Preds also gained a point on the Jets after Winnipeg’s overtime loss in Washington.
Duck! Anaheim flew out of the third spot in the Pacific and dropped to 9th in the West for now based on the ROW tiebreaker, while Los Angeles jumped into the No. 3 Pacific seed.
St. Louis kept pace by knocking off the Ducks and remains one point out of the second wild card, though those tiebreakers will play a role for them moving forward, as well.
It’s possible that Arizona won’t be the first team mathematically eliminated. That would be a feat in and of itself, or maybe it says more about the state Vancouver is in right now.
As far as tragic numbers go, here we are:
Western Conference Playoff Race (Games Ending 3/12) pic.twitter.com/SQzvLglCXH— Damian Echevarrieta (@Ech28) March 13, 2018
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.
St. Louis is the current target, with a point maximum of 105, so getting to 106 would officially get the Preds into the postseason.
Playoff spot: 8
1st wild card: 9
2nd in Central, home ice in first round: 14
Win Central Division: 21
1st in Western Conference: 24
Presidents’ Trophy: 29
Tracking the tracker
Past versions can be found here:
Monday’s rooting interests
Seven games tonight, and they’ve all got something to offer. Let’s start with the obvious - it’ll be a great night if the Preds can take down the Jets in regulation and get some additional help.
Dallas @ Montreal: Dallas can stay clumped in the wild-card logjam. It might not give any clarity toward the Preds’ first-round opponent, but whatever.
Edmonton @ Calgary: The Flames are still very much in the wild card discussion, so keep a close eye on them for the next week to see if they do indeed ascend into a playoff spot.
Los Angeles @ Arizona: Just how tight can this race be? Seven teams could be within three points of each other with certain results. Nuts.
Colorado @ Minnesota: An Avs regulation loss will reduce the Preds’ magic number regardless of what happens against the Jets tonight.
Top seeding interests
Boston @ Carolina: If the Bruins were to drop another one, their Presidents’ Trophy chances take a pretty good hit.
Ottawa @ Tampa Bay: The Lightning could sure use a loss, right?
Games of no consequence
Nothing to see here tonight.
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.
Calgary: playoff team or nah?
This poll is closed