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Magic Number Tracker: Saturday, March 24

Twelve games on today’s slate provide plenty to track, including another goal to check off the list - hopefully.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Buffalo Sabres
This guy was fired up after Thursday’s loss. Perhaps his words prove prophetic.
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

So, good news and bad news. Good news is that the Ducks lost on Friday. Bad news - it happened in overtime, so not the full effect most were hoping for.

It also meant that the Jets pulled two points closer to the Preds, but a six-point gap still remains before the meeting in Winnipeg tomorrow. Nashville can still all but slam the door on the Central Division in the next 48 hours.

St. Louis held up its end of the bargain with a win, so they did pull a little closer to the final spot in the West. That ROW tiebreaker can really still come back to bite the Ducks.

Dallas, however, did not win, so the Stars fell further behind and it’s looking less and less likely they’ll be in contention this time next week.

A Preds win tonight of any kind locks up home-ice in the first round of the playoffs. Three points of any kind this weekend will also do the job, but knocking that goal out on the first try would be nice.

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, with the current team they need to beat to do that. 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 Friday, current target is Minnesota)

Win Central Division: 11 (0, current target: Winnipeg)

1st in Western Conference: 11 (0, current target: Vegas)

Presidents’ Trophy: 17 (0, current target: Tampa Bay)

And, about the Presidents’ Trophy race:

Tracking the tracker

Here’s how the numbers have dropped (or in this week’s case, leveled off) since the tracker began earlier this month:

Perhaps we get some more movement toward the finish line tonight? Maybe?
Chris Brooks

Saturday’s rooting interests (All game times Central)

Big day today, pretty nice little Saturday. We’re gonna go to Home Depot, buy some wallpaper, maybe get some flooring...maybe Bed Bath and Beyond, I don’t know. I don’t know if we’ll have enough time. Then, hopefully, clinch home-ice in the first round with a win at Minnesota.

Teams in Western contention not playing tonight include Winnipeg, Anaheim and Dallas. In the East, Pittsburgh, Boston and Philadelphia have the day off.

Playoff interests

Calgary @ San Jose (3 p.m.): Basically, it’s the Flames’ last stand. Their tragic number is six, so they can’t afford any more mistakes.

St. Louis @ Columbus (6 p.m.): Blues are two points back of the Ducks with a game in hand. It’s not a done deal that Anaheim will make the playoffs.

Los Angeles @ Edmonton (9 p.m.): The Kings give up a game in hand to the Ducks tonight. Best if they just keep winning and stay in third in the Pacific.

Central interests

Nothing of note tonight.

Top seeding interests

Vegas @ Colorado (2 p.m.): You know the rules, in regulation only, please.

Tampa Bay @ New Jersey (6 p.m.): Devils in regulation for $2,000, Alex.

Games of no consequence

Detroit @ Toronto (6 p.m.): Who here doesn’t want to see the Red Wings win this one to make Toronto go mad?

Washington @ Montreal (6 p.m.): Caps have a game in hand on Pittsburgh and a three-point lead, so a good chance to create a little breathing room.

Carolina @ Ottawa (6 p.m.): The Canes’ tragic number is seven, so this is pretty much their last stand, as well.

Arizona @ Florida (6 p.m.): Panthers are hanging tough, but they’ve got to win this one to keep doing so.

Chicago @ N.Y. Islanders, Buffalo @ N.Y. Rangers (6 p.m.): Listing these both together because the Isles and Rangers each have tragic numbers of four. Both of them could be eliminated tonight with regulation losses if the Devils win.

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.


How many New York teams are officially eliminated tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    (9 votes)
  • 18%
    Rangers only
    (7 votes)
  • 5%
    Islanders only
    (2 votes)
  • 52%
    (20 votes)
38 votes total Vote Now