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Magic Number Tracker: Thursday, March 15

The madness continues in earnest. How much closer can the Preds get to locking up a postseason spot?

Winnipeg Jets 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 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.

(Side note: once the Preds clinch the ROW tiebreaker over a team, the +1 is no longer a factor in the equation, but we’re not at that point with any playoff-hopeful teams yet.)

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

We officially said farewell to the Canucks and the Coyotes on Wednesday, as both teams were eliminated from playoff contention.

Nashville also moved two points closer for the top spot in the West as New Jersey had a devil of a good time in Vegas. Is the magic starting to wear off for the Golden Knights? They’re still not in danger of relinquishing the Pacific Division, but they are losing ground to the Predators.

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: 6

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

Win Central Division: 17

1st in Western Conference: 20

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:

That light blue line noting first in the West? It’s been cut a bit in the last two days. We like that.
Chris Brooks

Thursday’s rooting interests

Nine games tonight, though only a handful of them mean anything to the Preds’ playoff picture. Winning in Arizona is the first priority, though.

Playoff interests

Colorado @ St. Louis: Are you team “Keep the Blues Out” or would you rather the Avs drop out of the top eight?

Detroit @ Los Angeles: The Kings are on the Pacific side of the bracket for now. If you’re okay with that, then this game is of no interest.

Central interests

Chicago @ Winnipeg: You’re rooting for the Jets to lose, not for the Hawks to win.

Top seeding interests

Boston @ Florida: We’ll take the Panthers tonight.

Games of no consequence

Toronto @ Buffalo: Not the most entertainment value in this one, but watch the Sabres win and further torture Leafs fans.

Washington @ N.Y. Islanders: The Islanders are running out of time and the Caps have no margin for error if they want to win the Metro.

Columbus @ Philadelphia: Here’s one to watch before Nashville plays.

Pittsburgh @ Montreal: You have other options. Use them.

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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