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Magic Number Tracker: Wednesday, March 14

Some nice things happened on Tuesday. More nice things can happen tonight as well.

Winnipeg Jets v Nashville Predators
These guys had a fun Tuesday, and they’re closer to a Central Division title because of it.
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 if/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 100 points, and second-place Winnipeg’s maximum possible point total is 116, so the Preds’ magic number to clinch the Central Division title is 17 (116-100+1). It’s a combination of points gained by Nashville, plus points lost by the other team in question.

The number could drop by as many as four points if both teams play on the same night. It no longer seems like a lot.

Yesterday’s impacts

Hitting triple digits in points did wonders for the Preds’ Central Division chances, slashing four points from that magic number. Minnesota’s loss put them two points closer to clinching home-ice in the first round, at the expense of the playoff-clinching magic number. Still, no biggie.

Tampa Bay lost and Boston won, tightening the East race again and putting the Preds back in front for the Presidents’ Trophy race.

All in all, it was a good night.

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.

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: 6

1st wild card: 7

2nd in Central, home ice in first round: 10

Win Central Division: 17

1st in Western Conference: 22

Presidents’ Trophy: 25

Tracking the tracker

We’ve been linking to past articles to show how things have changed, but we’re far enough along to provide more of a graphical view of how things have unfolded this month:

In this case, downward trends are good. Flat-lining is better.
Chris Brooks

Wednesday’s rooting interests

Five games tonight, four with something of value to the Western Conference picture.

Playoff interests

Dallas @ Toronto: With the Stars losing the front end of a back-to-back, do they fall further in the clutches of the wild-card wolves?

San Jose @ Edmonton: The Sharks can keep winning if it means they’ll stay on the Pacific side of things and not fall into the wild-card race. Just say no to West Coast travel in the first round.

Vancouver @ Anaheim: With the Ducks now on the wrong side of the cutoff, it’s realistic to side with their opponents from here on out.

Central interests

Nothing to note here tonight.

Top seeding interests

New Jersey @ Vegas: The Devils hit Sin City for the first time. Should feel right at home. At least we hope so.

Games of no consequence

Pittsburgh @ N.Y. Rangers: Nah, get some rest. Preds play late on Thursday.

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.


How many points do you think the Predators will gain on the Arizona/Colorado/Buffalo road trip?

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