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Magic Number Tracker: Thursday, March 22

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The numbers haven’t changed in the past couple of days. Will they move on Thursday?

NHL: Nashville Predators at Buffalo Sabres 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

Still nothing to be locked up for now. Anaheim and Los Angeles continue the flip-flop between spots, but the Blues and Stars are still within striking distance as well. Calgary’s in real trouble now after last night’s loss.

Nashville still has a game in hand on everyone in the Western Conference, though eight

of the final 10 games are against teams currently holding playoff spots (see below).

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 Wednesday)

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 movement the past couple of days. That should change a little on Thursday.
Chris Brooks

Thursday’s rooting interests (All game times Central)

Ten games this evening, but only three have any hand in helping reduce magic numbers.

Playoff interests

Los Angeles @ Colorado (8 p.m.): Since we’re all hell-bent on keeping the Ducks out of the playoffs, root for overtime here.

Central interests

Nothing of interest here tonight.

Top seeding interests

Tampa Bay @ N.Y. Islanders (6 p.m.): A decent chance to chop four points off that Presidents’ Trophy number.

Vegas @ San Jose (9 p.m.): The Pacific Division hinges on this game.

Games of no consequence

N.Y. Rangers @ Philadelphia (6 p.m.): At this point, it’s all about giving the Pens the worst possible seeding, right?

Arizona @ Carolina (6 p.m.): Any faint hope the Canes still have rides on this game.

Florida @ Columbus (6 p.m.): Probably the top game in the East tonight.

Edmonton @ Ottawa (6:30 p.m.): Two teams that have fallen far in less than 12 months.

Washington @ Detroit (6:30 p.m.): Caps need to stay in front in the Metro, so these two points are vital.

Vancouver @ Chicago (7:30 p.m.): Meh.

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 opponent are you most looking forward to seeing in the next seven days?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Toronto (tonight)
    (19 votes)
  • 21%
    Minnesota (away Saturday/home Tuesday)
    (21 votes)
  • 58%
    at Winnipeg (Sunday)
    (56 votes)
96 votes total Vote Now