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Magic Number Tracker: Thursday, March 8

A quiet night on Wednesday leads to lots of possibilities on Thursday.

Nashville Predators v Montreal Canadiens
Ryan Ellis sees another opportunity tonight with the Ducks in town.
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 are an immediate concern.)

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

There probably won’t be any days the rest of the season with less of an impact than Wednesday. None of the three games had an impact on any magic numbers.

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

1st wild card: 16

2nd in Central, home ice in first round: 19

Win Central Division: 27

1st in Western Conference: 27

Presidents’ Trophy: 32

Tracking the tracker

Past versions can be found here:

Wednesday, March 7

Tuesday, March 6

Monday, March 5

Thursday’s rooting interests

A 12-game slate presents lots of things to keep an eye on tonight. Especially the Ducks, who you definitely can’t turn your back on.

Playoff interests

Colorado @ Columbus: You know the drill. East over West.

Washington @ Los Angeles: Reread the last sentence.

St. Louis @ San Jose: This one depends on your preferential first-round opponent. They’re both possibilities, so whichever way you sway, overtime is a no-no.

Central interests

Winnipeg @ New Jersey: Everybody over the Jets.

Top seeding interests

Philadelphia @ Boston: Whatever it takes to bump the Bruins back a couple of notches, that’s where we go.

Vegas @ Detroit: Still doesn’t seem right, siding with the Red Wings, but that’s where we are.

N.Y. Rangers @ Tampa Bay: Everybody over the Lightning.

Games of no consequence

Buffalo @ Ottawa: One of the “not fun” games on the schedule. That said, watch it end up being a 6-5 final.

Montreal @ Florida: One non-Preds storyline that might be fun to keep up with is the Panthers’ run toward the playoffs.

Carolina @ Chicago: One more step toward the Hawks’ official demise?

N.Y. Islanders @ Edmonton: This isn’t 1983.

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.


Which team would you rather see lose tonight (preferably in regulation)?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    St. Louis
    (43 votes)
  • 66%
    San Jose
    (85 votes)
128 votes total Vote Now