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Magic Number Tracker: Wednesday, March 7

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Tuesday was a good night for magic numbers for the Nashville Predators. Which is good, because you’ll get nothing and like it on Wednesday.

Nashville Predators v Montreal Canadiens
Pekka Rinne’s 50th career shutout helped push Nashville’s magic number two points closer to a playoff berth on Tuesday.
Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/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.

(One caveat: every game assumes a regulation or overtime result for tiebreaker purposes. Shootouts will muddy the waters a bit, so the fewer, the better. We will, however, consider them when they become an immediate concern, but for now, don’t worry about them.)

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 95 points, and second-place Winnipeg’s maximum possible point total is 121, so the Preds’ magic number to clinch the Central Division title is 27 (121-95+1). It’s a combination of points gained by Nashville, plus points lost by the other team in question.

That number seems like a lot, but it could drop by as many as four points if both teams play on the same night.

Yesterday’s impacts

The Preds’ victory (in regulation, thankfully) dropped nearly all the magic numbers by at least two points.

Winnipeg refused to give up any more ground in New York, defeating the Rangers to keep pace with Nashville in the Central Division race.

One number did drop by four points, however – the Preds’ outlook for the top seed in the Western Conference improved a bit with Vegas’ loss in Columbus.

Nothing much changed in the Presidents’ Trophy race, as both Tampa Bay and Boston each won their respective games in overtime, but that number did drop two points with the Preds’ victory.

Colorado’s overtime loss dropped the magic number for the first wild card an additional point.

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, basically climbing the next rung up the ladder, if you will.

Playoff spot: 15 (-2 from Tuesday)

1st wild card: 15 (-3)

2nd in Central, home ice in first round: 19 (-2)

Win Central Division: 27 (-2)

1st in Western Conference: 27 (-4)

Presidents’ Trophy: 32 (-2)

Tracking the tracker

Past versions of the tracker are below. Once we get a few games in, there may even be a handy-dandy chart to look at, as well.

Tuesday, March 6

Monday, March 5

Wednesday’s rooting interests

Tonight would be a good night to have a game night or go enjoy your favorite beverage. Just three games tonight and none of them will move the magic numbers at all. They’ll still be here when you get back on Thursday.

Playoff interests

Calgary @ Buffalo: The Flames are still in the mix, so we’ll keep them here until further notice. With that in mind, it’s East over West, as usual.

Central interests

Nothing to worry about tonight.

Top seeding interests

Nothing to see here, either.

Games of no consequence

Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia: Two of my favorite shows are on Wednesday nights – The Blacklist and Designated Survivor.

Arizona @ Vancouver: Yes, the league is requiring this game to be played.

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.


With nothing Preds-related happening tonight, let’s find something more pleasant: Puppies or kittens?

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