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
With the Coyotes’ win in Vegas, the Golden Knights are now six points back of the Predators for the top seed in the Western Conference. The magic number for Nashville to finish ahead of Vegas now sits at five. That’s good news.
St. Louis and Anaheim still occupy the wild-card spots and neither team plays on Thursday. Same goes for the Avalanche, who reside one point out of the playoffs today. Los Angeles does play this evening, however, and will either stay in third in the Pacific or fall to the second wild card with a regulation loss (they’d have the fewest games remaining in that situation).
As far as tragic numbers go, here we are:
Western Conference Playoff Race (Games Ending 3/28) pic.twitter.com/YfCkLubXPw— Damian Echevarrieta (@Ech28) March 29, 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 (0 from Wednesday, current target: Winnipeg)
1st in Western Conference: 8 (0, current target: Winnipeg)
Presidents’ Trophy: 11 (0, current target: Boston)
And, about the Presidents’ Trophy race, which is dwindling by the day:
Presidents’ Trophy Race (Games Ending 3/28) pic.twitter.com/UOXOdbNsos— Damian Echevarrieta (@Ech28) March 29, 2018
Tracking the tracker
Here’s how the numbers have progressed since the tracker began earlier this month:
Thursday’s rooting interests (All game times Central)
Of course, beating the Sharks comes first, but after that...
Dallas @ Minnesota (7 p.m.): Dallas’ last stand, plus all of a sudden, third isn’t assured for the Wild, either.
Arizona @ Los Angeles (9:30 p.m.): All about the Kings here. As much as Arizona has helped the Preds, they can further help by taking one on the chin tonight and keeping LA in third in the Pacific.
Winnipeg @ Chicago (7:30 p.m.): Pull for a Winnipeg loss, and don’t look at it any other way because the opponent does not matter. That’s a fun sentence to write about Chicago — they don’t matter.
Top seeding interests
Tampa Bay @ Boston (6 p.m.): Here we go — the showdown for the East’s top spot. Regulation only, please.
Games of no consequence
Detroit @ Buffalo (6 p.m.): The race to the bottom is on.
Pittsburgh @ New Jersey (6 p.m.): Can the Devils keep the Metro race extra tight?
Florida @ Ottawa (6:30 p.m.): The Panthers have to help themselves tonight.
Columbus @ Calgary (8 p.m.): Dang. What the Blue Jackets did to Edmonton the other night should be illegal in at least 40 states and every province in Canada.
Edmonton @ Vancouver (9 p.m.): Avert your eyes. Or better yet, go do something else. It’s a long weekend.
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.
Do you think Minnesota can hold onto third in the Central, or will the Blues or Avalanche overtake the Wild?
This poll is closed
Minnesota holds on
St. Louis gets there
Colorado takes over
Both of them do the improbable