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Magic Number Tracker: Friday, March 16

It’s really in sight now. In fact, tonight’s the first chance to clinch a playoff spot. Really.

Calgary Flames 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.

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 102 points, and second-place Winnipeg’s maximum possible point total is 116, so the Preds’ magic number to clinch the Central Division title is 115 (116-102+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.)

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 and today’s clinching scenarios

Nashville’s comeback in the desert moved them within striking distance of the first goal - clinching a playoff spot. It can happen with a Preds win regulation/OT win OR any of the following:

Preds win/Dallas regulation loss at Ottawa

Preds SO win/Ducks loss or SO win (Anaheim then could not catch Nashville in ROW)

Preds OT or SO loss/Ducks loss

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. Remember: these are clean magic numbers (no tiebreakers assumed).

Playoff spot: 3

1st wild card: 4

2nd in Central, home ice in first round: 8

Win Central Division: 15

1st in Western Conference: 18

Presidents’ Trophy: 23

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:

Getting closer.
Chris Brooks

Friday’s rooting interests

This six-pack of games, including Nashville’s tilt at Colorado, could shuffle the wild-card picture some more.

Playoff interests

Dallas @ Ottawa: Ottawa could put the Preds in position to clinch with a win in regulation.

San Jose @ Calgary: The Flames can further tighten things in both the Pacific standings and the wild-card race with a win, while the Sharks don’t want to slip back.

Detroit @ Anaheim: Let’s. Go. Red. Wings. Although if the Senators do their job and Nashville takes care of business, this one won’t matter except for the “Keep the Ducks Out” crowd.

Central interests

Nothing of note tonight.

Top seeding interests

Minnesota @ Vegas: The Wild are far enough back that you can side with them to knock the Golden Knights down another notch.

Games of no consequence

N.Y. Islanders @ Washington: The back half of a home-and-home, one night after the Isles were taken behind the woodshed.

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 the Predators clinch a playoff spot tonight?

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