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Magic Number Tracker: Sunday, March 18

Plenty to keep an eye on despite the Preds having an off day before Monday’s tilt in Buffalo.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Colorado Avalanche
Eyeing bigger things. We see you, captain.
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

Tampa’s loss in regulation to Boston dropped the magic number for the Presidents’ Trophy by two points. Everything else remained unchanged.

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 (no change from Saturday)

2nd in Central, home ice in first round: 6 (0)

Win Central Division: 13 (0)

1st in Western Conference: 14 (0)

Presidents’ Trophy: 19 (-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:

A small bump for the Presidents’ Trophy line, but everything else remained unchanged on Saturday. Sunday could be a different story, though.
Chris Brooks

Sunday’s rooting interests (All game times Central)

Of Sunday’s eight games, the majority of them have some value to Preds fans.

Playoff interests

Detroit @ Colorado (2 p.m.): I wish this would get back to the heated rivalry of the late 90s, but with the Red Wings in the East, it’s not meant to be.

St. Louis @ Chicago (6:30 p.m.): If the Blues want to keep in the race, these are two points they’ve got to have.

New Jersey @ Anaheim (8 p.m.): The Devils have done yeoman’s work for the Preds’ magic numbers on this trip. How about one more good deed, huh?

Central interests

Dallas @ Winnipeg (6:30 p.m.): Stars in regulation for $200, Alex.

Top seeding interests

Calgary @ Vegas (3 p.m.): Taking the Flames here to help continue a Golden Knights backslide.

Edmonton @ Tampa Bay (4 p.m.): The Bolts need to give Vas a rest sometime. It’ll happen today, and maybe the Oilers can milk two points out of it.

Games of no consequence

Carolina @ N.Y. Islanders (4 p.m.): Both teams are pretty much out of it now.

Washington @ Philadelphia (4 p.m.): The Flyers have a little bit of wiggle room right now, but they can’t afford too many stumbles down the stretch.

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.


With 11 games remaining, how many wins do you think the Predators will get?

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