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
Al Davis said it best — “just win, baby.” That’s the formula for clinching the Central Division and Western Conference for the Predators on Thursday.
In addition, a Boston loss in regulation would also lock up the Presidents’ Trophy for Nashville.
If the Preds lose in regulation, a Winnipeg loss in regulation also clinches the Central for Nashville, but Vegas would also need to drop a point in that scenario for the West to fall.
Should the Preds lose in overtime or in a shootout, the same fate needs to befall the Jets for both the Central and West top seeds. Vegas would not factor in if Nashville gets to overtime.
As far as tragic numbers go, here we are:
Western Conference Playoff Race (Games Ending 4/4) pic.twitter.com/3G2bZg3nrL— Damian Echevarrieta (@Ech28) April 5, 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 (unchanged from Wednesday, 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:
Presidents’ Trophy Race (Games Ending 4/4) pic.twitter.com/2K57elYnHr— Damian Echevarrieta (@Ech28) April 5, 2018
Tracking the tracker
Here’s how the numbers have progressed since the tracker began last month:
Thursday’s rooting interests (All game times Central)
A robust 12-game schedule on a key night.
Minnesota @ Los Angeles (9 p.m.): The Kings can guarantee a finish ahead of Colorado with a win, which means they’ll be at least the second wild card. But...they’d also take second from the Sharks as well. Didn’t expect that at this point, but that’s where we are.
Colorado @ San Jose (9:30 p.m.): The Avalanche cannot clinch a playoff spot on Thursday. However, if the Sharks falter in their final two games, it’s possible they fall to the first wild card spot. Again, unexpected.
Calgary @ Winnipeg (7 p.m.): All about the Flames.
Top seeding interests
Boston @ Florida (6:30 p.m.): The irony of Tuesday’s controversy is that the same team that benefitted from the ending is the same one that can help the Preds clinch the Presidents’ Trophy tonight.
Vegas @ Edmonton (8 p.m.): This game will mean nothing if the Preds win.
Games of no consequence
Toronto @ New Jersey (6 p.m.)
N.Y. Rangers @ N.Y. Islanders (6 p.m.)
Carolina @ Philadelphia (6 p.m.)
Pittsburgh @ Columbus (6 p.m.)
Montreal @ Detroit (6:30 p.m.)
Arizona @ Vancouver (9 p.m.)
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.
Let’s try this again: Will the Central Division (and Western Conference top seeding) fall tonight?
This poll is closed