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Magic Number Tracker: Tuesday, March 27

Before beginning a critical homestand, take a glance to see how things have changed since yesterday, because they have.

Winnipeg Jets v Nashville Predators
The magic number to win the Central could drop to eight - or past it, even. Tonight’s a pivotal night.
Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

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 107 points, and second-place Winnipeg’s maximum possible point total is 116, so the Preds’ magic number to clinch the Central Division title is 10 (116-107+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

Arizona’s win in Tampa means Boston now becomes the team with the most possible points after Nashville, so the focus in the Presidents’ Trophy race now shifts to the Bruins, who could do the Preds a favor in Winnipeg tonight.

Los Angeles jumped ahead of Colorado in the wild card race, but with one fewer game to play than everybody else, the Kings have less leverage at the moment. The Blues have a game in hand on the entire wild-card race, which should still give the “Keep the Ducks Out” crowd some hope this week.

Again, home-ice in the first round can be locked up tonight, and it only takes one point to do it. Third time’s the charm?

Calgary officially flamed out on Monday (and no, I’m not sorry for that one, either.)

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: 1 (0 from Monday, current target is Minnesota)

Win Central Division: 10 (0, current target: Winnipeg)

1st in Western Conference: 10 (0, current target: Winnipeg)

Presidents’ Trophy: 14 (0, current target: Boston, because the Bruins have two games in hand on the Lightning despite being two points behind)

And, about the Presidents’ Trophy race:

Tracking the tracker

Here’s how the numbers have progressed since the tracker began earlier this month:

What would be nice is if that bottom line added some gray to it tonight.
Chris Brooks

Tuesday’s rooting interests (All game times Central)

There’s the obvious - beating the Wild comes first - then this menu of games for your Tuesday evening:

Playoff interests

San Jose @ St. Louis (7 p.m.): Interesting one for both the Pacific and wild card races.

Philadelphia @ Dallas (7:30 p.m.): I know, the Stars are pretty much out of it. But since they’re not mathematically eliminated, they stay here for now.

Anaheim @ Vancouver (9 p.m.): Nucks over Ducks.

Central interests

Boston @ Winnipeg (7 p.m.): Pretty bad timing for this matchup to come along. But since the Central’s still a bit in doubt, best to slam the door on the Jets now and worry about bigger things later. There is good news, however: a magic number is guaranteed to drop!

Top seeding interests

See Central interests above. It goes double for tonight.

Games of no consequence

Carolina @ New Jersey (6 p.m.): So long, Canes. Can’t see a miracle coming for you.

N.Y. Islanders @ Ottawa (6:30 p.m.): Au revoir, Isles. We hardly knew thee.

Pittsburgh @ Detroit (6:30 p.m.): Thanks for playing, Red Wings. Now, please kindly kick a Penguin or two on your way out.

Columbus @ Edmonton (8 p.m.): Good night, Oilers. Eh, I got nothing here.

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.


Who wins tonight - Bruins or Jets?

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