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Magic Number Tracker: Saturday, March 17

The best part of the Preds clinching on Friday? It only took one try to get it done. Next up on the checklist: Everything.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Colorado Avalanche
Lindsey Vonn got to watch the Preds clinch a playoff spot in person last night. These are facts.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

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 104 points, and second-place Winnipeg’s maximum possible point total is 116, so the Preds’ magic number to clinch the Central Division title is 13 (116-104+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.

(Side note: once the Preds clinch the ROW tiebreaker over a team, the +1 is no longer a factor in the equation, so it could technically drop by five points in that event.)

Yesterday’s impacts and today’s clinching scenarios

Check off one box. The Predators officially became the first team to punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs with their victory in Colorado.

The Wild’s shutout of the Golden Knights in Vegas has some folks wondering whether the wunderkinds will hang on to the Pacific Division, or will Sin City get taken down by a shark? Either way, Nashville’s quest for home-ice advantage in the Western Conference playoffs took a big step forward on Friday.

Every magic number shrunk on Friday. Those are the best days.

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: CLINCHED

1st wild card: 1 (-3 from Friday)

2nd in Central, home ice in first round: 6 (-2)

Win Central Division: 13 (-2)

1st in Western Conference: 14 (-4)

Presidents’ Trophy: 21 (-2)

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 bottom line got its first visitor on Friday. More to come, we’re sure.
Chris Brooks

Saturday’s rooting interests (All game times Central)

Ten games line Saturday’s slate, and about half of them have some value to Preds fans. Enjoy.

Playoff interests

New Jersey @ Los Angeles (3 p.m.): The Kings, despite being 6-3-1 in their last 10, are going to keep feeling pressure to stay in the Pacific’s top three with things tightening around the wild-card chase. LA holds the tiebreaker over Anaheim, so if you’re team “Keep the Ducks Out,” the Kings need to keep winning.

N.Y. Rangers @ St. Louis (7 p.m.): Time’s running out on the Blues, and the Rangers could really put them in dire straits with a win tonight.

San Jose @ Vancouver (9 p.m.): Does anyone here think the Sharks could come roaring back and somehow steal the Pacific? Vegas is beginning to open that door a bit.

Central interests

Minnesota @ Arizona (8 p.m.): Home ice in the first round is oh-so-close as well. The Yotes can bump Nashville closer with a win.

Top seeding interests

Boston @ Tampa Bay (6 p.m.): We’ll take Boston in regulation, please.

Games of no consequence

Chicago @ Buffalo (Noon): Buffalo is 5-4-1 in its last 10, so the Sabres are at least making teams work. Maybe they’ll send the Hawks two points closer to doomsday.

Edmonton @ Florida (1 p.m.): The Panthers continue their pursuit of a wild card spot, but still have lots of work left to do in order to get it.

Montreal @ Toronto (6 p.m.): Make sure and wear some green today. Don’t get pinched.

Philadelphia @ Carolina (6 p.m.): It’s perfectly acceptable to drink green beer while watching this game.

Ottawa @ Columbus (6 p.m.): Or this one.

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.


Are you Team "Keep the Ducks Out" or Team "Let’s End Them Again" for the playoffs?

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