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 109 points, and second-place Winnipeg’s maximum possible point total is 116, so the Preds’ magic number to clinch the Central Division title is 8 (116-109+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
Getting to overtime was enough to ensure the first two games of the Preds’ first-round playoff series will go off in Nashville.
Boston and Winnipeg conspired to each get a point, keeping the maximum gains from happening either way for the Preds. With the Jets prevailing, the Presidents’ Trophy number dropped three points, while the number for the Central (and first in the West) fell by two.
The very earliest Nashville could clinch anything else is Saturday night, and that would require two regulation losses by the Jets in addition to two Preds wins for that to happen.
Meanwhile, the wild-card shuffle continues, as St. Louis and Anaheim now occupy those spots, with Los Angeles in third in the Pacific and Colorado one point out. Dallas hangs by a thread after snapping a long losing streak.
As far as tragic numbers go, here we are:
Western Conference Playoff Race (Games Ending 3/27) pic.twitter.com/gXk6OHsTfr— Damian Echevarrieta (@Ech28) March 28, 2018
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: CLINCHED
Win Central Division: 8 (-2, current target: Winnipeg)
1st in Western Conference: 8 (-2, current target: Winnipeg)
Presidents’ Trophy: 11 (-3, current target: Boston)
And, about the Presidents’ Trophy race, which is dwindling by the day:
Presidents’ Trophy Race (Games Ending 3/27) pic.twitter.com/fNqjEA45mC— Damian Echevarrieta (@Ech28) March 28, 2018
Tracking the tracker
Here’s how the numbers have progressed since the tracker began earlier this month:
Wednesday’s rooting interests (All game times Central)
Just four games on Wednesday, with a couple that’ll hold some playoff interests for the Preds, but they’re late:
Philadelphia @ Colorado (9 p.m.): All about the wild-card race here.
Nothing of note tonight.
Top seeding interests
Arizona @ Vegas (9 p.m.): The Coyotes have been a help to the Preds lately, so perhaps that trend can continue.
Games of no consequence
Florida @ Toronto (6 p.m.): Can the Panthers take advantage of the two games they have in hand over New Jersey? They’re still in this race.
N.Y. Rangers @ Washington (7 p.m.): The Rangers hung around a few extra days, but all they did was delay the inevitable until last night.
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 finishes in the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference?
This poll is closed