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Magic Number Tracker: Monday, March 19

A new week brings the next playoff seeding goal into focus. Guaranteeing home-ice advantage in the first round is only a few points away.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Colorado Avalanche 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, or five once the Preds clinch the tiebreaker over a certain team.

Yesterday’s impacts and today’s clinching scenarios

The Preds didn’t get a ton of help from anyone else, but they are guaranteed to be at least the first wild card after Dallas’ loss at Winnipeg.

Meanwhile, Anaheim slipped back into third in the Pacific, lining up the Kings to be the second wild card for now. Oh, joy. That’ll probably change every day or two, however, so it’s best to not get wrapped up in any “if the season ended today” talk. It doesn’t.

No higher spots can be clinched on Monday.

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: CLINCHED

2nd in Central, home ice in first round: 6 (no change from Sunday)

Win Central Division: 13 (0)

1st in Western Conference: 14 (0)

Presidents’ Trophy: 19 (0)

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:

Chris Brooks
A second magic number reached the finish line on Sunday. The next one will need a couple of days, however.

Monday’s rooting interests (All game times Central)

Five games in total on Monday, including the Preds’ visit to Buffalo.

Playoff interests

Calgary @ Arizona (9 p.m.): The Flames are four points back of the second wild card, and since it’s probably best that they don’t make the postseason, no problems rooting for the Coyotes to keep up their improved play in the second half of the schedule.

Central interests

Los Angeles @ Minnesota (7 p.m.): The Kings can do the Preds a couple of favors, namely pushing the number for first-round home ice down, plus jump back into the Pacific’s top three and help push the Ducks out.

Top seeding interests

Columbus @ Boston (6 p.m.): Blue Jackets, let’s ride.

Games of no consequence

Florida @ Montreal (6:30 p.m.): The Panthers are five points out of a wild card spot and are the definition of desperate.

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.


Of the teams currently in immediate wild-card contention, which first-round matchup do you prefer for the Preds?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Los Angeles
    (8 votes)
  • 18%
    (44 votes)
  • 0%
    (2 votes)
  • 31%
    (74 votes)
  • 39%
    St. Louis
    (92 votes)
  • 5%
    (13 votes)
233 votes total Vote Now