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Magic Number Tracker: Wednesday, April 4


Nashville Predators v Montreal Canadiens
This man scored a goal with under a second left in regulation. Toronto’s war room thought there were shenanigans, and they were right — it’s just they were the ones participating in them.
Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

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

Well, it finally happened...the Preds clinched their first...wait, what? You mean they lost?

Keith Yandle’s stick is still pushing Viktor Arvidsson, and the puck is still in the net behind Roberto Luongo, yet the Predators leave South Florida with the smell of the NHL’s horse manure all over their shoes.

What should at least have been a shot to win it in overtime ended up drawing the ire of Carrie Underwood and Kiefer Sutherland — and when you managed to piss off an Canadian, you’ve really screwed up.

With that said, the magic numbers for the Central Division and Western Conference held at two. Montreal’s valiant effort ended up for naught and the Jets prevailed in overtime to extend the division race 48 more hours.

Nashville did get two points closer to the Presidents’ Trophy with Boston’s loss, but that’s of little consolation to anyone watching the end of that cluster(bleep) last night.

Nothing can be clinched on Wednesday. Everything, however, can be clinched on Thursday. And after the Toronto Screwjob, the league had better hope that happens.

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: 2 (unchanged from Tuesday, current target is Winnipeg)

1st in Western Conference: 2 (0, current target: Winnipeg)

Presidents’ Trophy: 4 (-2, current target: Boston)

About that Presidents’ Trophy race:

Tracking the tracker

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

Oh, I get it...they’re all going to hit zero at the same time...
Chris Brooks

Wednesday’s rooting interests (All game times Central)

Just three games, although two have major wild-card implications:

Playoff interests

Chicago @ St. Louis (7 p.m.): The Blues can jump back inside the cut line tonight, and, if they’re lucky, could pull within one of the Ducks.

Minnesota @ Anaheim (9 p.m.): Meanwhile, the Ducks will clinch a playoff berth if they win and St. Louis loses in regulation. The Wild also lock up the No. 3 seed in the Central if they gain one point.

Central interests

Nothing of note tonight.

Top seeding interests

Nothing of note tonight.

Games of no consequence

Ottawa @ Buffalo (6:30 p.m.): Don’t bother.

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.


On a scale of one to nuclear, how mad are you about the overturned goal call from Tuesday?

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  • 3%
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    10-a lot
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  • 67%
    Can’t count that high
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