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Magic Number Tracker: Wednesday, March 21

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Tuesday was a bust, but it’s easier to put it in the rear-view mirror when everybody else is already there.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Buffalo Sabres
“Really, LA? You couldn’t have at least won in overtime? Guess I’ll just keep working on that Vezina and Hart candidacy.”
Kevin Hoffman-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 106 points, and second-place Winnipeg’s maximum possible point total is 116, so the Preds’ magic number to clinch the Central Division title is 11 (116-106+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 even five if the Preds clinch the tiebreaker over a certain team.

Yesterday’s impacts and today’s clinching scenarios

The Stars blew a chance to stay even in the wild-card race, falling two back of Anaheim with their loss in Washington.

Winnipeg also got two points with an overtime victory over Los Angeles, meaning no changes in the magic number to win the Central.

Tampa Bay and Vegas also won, taking a night that could have been big gains and turning it into, well, nothing.

Oh, and bye, Chicago.

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: 3 (unchanged from Tuesday)

Win Central Division: 11 (0)

1st in Western Conference: 12 (0)

Presidents’ Trophy: 17 (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:

No changes today. On to the next one.
Chris Brooks

Wednesday’s rooting interests (All game times Central)

Just four games tonight before a big slate on Thursday.

Playoff interests

Anaheim @ Calgary (8:30 p.m.): Pretty sure this is an easy call, right? Calgary needs the points and nobody wants the Ducks to make the playoffs.

Central interests

Nothing of interest here tonight.

Top seeding interests

Boston @ St. Louis (7 p.m.): On one hand, you can deal the Bruins a big blow to their Presidents’ Trophy hopes. On the other hand, you could really damage the Blues’ playoff chances. Vote on this one below.

Games of no consequence

Arizona @ Buffalo (6 p.m.): Bottom-feeder special.

Montreal @ Pittsburgh (6 p.m.): As close as the Metro race is, any point the Penguins can lose is a win for everyone else.

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.


Which side would you rather see win tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    St. Louis
    (211 votes)
  • 17%
    (44 votes)
255 votes total Vote Now