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 113 points, and second-place Winnipeg’s maximum possible point total is 114, so the Preds’ magic number to clinch the Central Division title is 2 (114-113+1). It’s a combination of points gained by Nashville, plus points lost by the other team in question.
Yesterday’s impacts and today’s clinching scenarios
Nearly a perfect result — just dump the puck, Philly, and it would have been — but Sunday was a big step toward the three big goals we’ve been tracking for the last month.
Nashville’s win in Tampa moved them two points closer to everything, but since Winnipeg has a game in hand, the Jets have a higher maximum point total than Vegas despite being one point behind the Golden Knights.
All of that is to say that the Central Division can be clinched on Monday, but the Western Conference’s top seed cannot be despite the magic number being the same for both. If the Jets lose in regulation, the Golden Knights become the last team that could catch the Preds for the West.
Since Vegas would win the tiebreaker (ROW) in that scenario, Nashville’s magic number to put away the Golden Knights is one. That cannot change on Monday, so Tuesday’s the next chance for the West to go down.
Anaheim got a key win in overtime on Sunday. The Blues have a game in hand on LA and Colorado for a wild-card spot, but it’s looking more and more likely that the “Keep the Ducks Out” dream may not happen this year.
As far as tragic numbers go, here we are:
Western Conference Playoff Race (Games Ending 4/1) pic.twitter.com/TobOLOhscM— Damian Echevarrieta (@Ech28) April 2, 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: 2 (-2 from Sunday, current target is Winnipeg)
1st in Western Conference: 2 (-2, current target: Winnipeg)
Presidents’ Trophy: 6 (-2, current target: Boston)
And, about the Presidents’ Trophy race:
Presidents’ Trophy Race (Games Ending 4/1) pic.twitter.com/eCMBphlUDJ— Damian Echevarrieta (@Ech28) April 2, 2018
Tracking the tracker
Here’s how the numbers have progressed since the tracker began last month:
Monday’s rooting interests (All game times Central)
A couple of big games in the Western Conference wild card race this evening among the six-game slate:
Washington @ St. Louis (7 p.m.): Best-case scenario for the Blues is getting the Caps in the second game of a back-to-back when they’ve clinched everything they can.
Edmonton @ Minnesota (7 p.m.): The Wild had better be careful — they could find themselves just two points up on the Blues if things go wrong.
Colorado @ Los Angeles (9:30 p.m.): Huge game for the wild-card race.
Winnipeg @ Ottawa (6:30 p.m.): A Sens regulation win clinches the Central Division title for the Predators.
Top seeding interests
Nothing involving the West or Presidents’ Trophy tonight.
Games of no consequence
Buffalo @ Toronto (6 p.m.): The Leafs really have nothing to play for. They know they’re going to be third in the Atlantic.
Carolina @ Florida (6:30 p.m.): Panthers are in dire straits and may need to simply win out in order to get in. That’s going to be a tall order given their remaining schedule.
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 way will the two Western Conference wild cards play out (in either order)?
This poll is closed
Los Angeles/St. Louis
Minnesota falls in somehow