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Magic Number Tracker: Saturday, March 31

Eeli Tolvanen’s debut, a Central Division title and the top seed in the West all wrapped up. These are all things that could happen tonight.


Each day for the remainder of the regular season — or until everything is clinched, whichever comes first — 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 a franchise-record 111 points, and second-place Winnipeg’s maximum possible point total is 114, so the Preds’ magic number to clinch the Central Division title is 4 (114-111+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

A historic moment is potentially at hand tonight in Smashville. The Predators could clinch their first-ever Central Division title, as well as the top seed in the Western Conference.

They cannot, however, do it alone. They will need help to celebrate that tonight.

Here’s how:

A Preds win in any fashion, plus a Winnipeg regulation loss, clinches the Central title.

If both of those happen, plus Vegas loses in any fashion, the West will be locked up as well.

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: CLINCHED

Win Central Division: 4 (unchanged from Friday, current target is Winnipeg)

1st in Western Conference: 4 (0, current targets are Winnipeg and Vegas)

Presidents’ Trophy: 9 (0, current target is Boston)

And, about the Presidents’ Trophy race:

Tracking the tracker

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

Could two more lines reach the bottom tonight? The answer is yes.
Chris Brooks

Saturday’s rooting interests (All game times Central)

With 12 games slated for today, lots to keep an eye on as the races head for the finish line:

Playoff interests

Minnesota @ Dallas (7 p.m.): The Wild are still a possible wild-card team (though it’s a longshot at this point). For that to happen, Dallas would need to win. Ah, who knows? Even so, the Stars’ tragic number is one, so prepare to say goodbye.

St. Louis @ Arizona (8 p.m.): I think we’re all okay with St. Louis winning to keep Anaheim down, right?

San Jose @ Vegas (9:30 p.m.): They’re locked into the 1-2 spots in the Pacific, and the Golden Knights win the division by simply getting one point tonight. Hey, San Jose, we know we took two points from you on Thursday, but could you help us out tonight and just simply win?

Central interests

Winnipeg @ Toronto (6 p.m.): The Maple Leafs can help Nashville clinch the Central tonight by getting it done in regulation.

Top seeding interests

Florida @ Boston (noon): The Panthers are going to factor heavily into the Presidents’ Trophy race in the final week. And I mean heavily.

Games of no consequence

Ottawa @ Detroit (1 p.m.): Probably should start this game three hours earlier so everybody can simply avoid it.

Columbus @ Vancouver (3 p.m.): If the Blue Jackets want home-ice advantage in the first round, these two points are critical.

N.Y. Islanders @ New Jersey (6 p.m.): The Devils are looking at facing Boston in the first round. They’d better win this one if they have any hope of avoiding that.

Montreal @ Pittsburgh (6 p.m.): Perhaps the Habs can help drive the Pens down a spot in the Metro?

N.Y. Rangers @ Carolina (6 p.m.): Raleigh can’t be a fun place right now.

Edmonton @ Calgary (9 p.m.): Maybe the Battle of Alberta gets feisty with nothing more than bragging rights at stake.

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.


Does Eeli Tolvanen score a goal in his NHL debut tonight?

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